20 now the limit on pioneering Lambeth’s roads

Crossing road by Barrier Block with 20mph sign Lambeth will from today (4 April) be a “20mph borough”.

All roads controlled by the council will be covered by a 20mph speed limit.

“Driving slower on residential roads has been proven to reduce accidents, creating a safer environment for drivers – as well as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, who make up 80% of serious and fatal collisions,” the council said.

Cllr Jennifer Brathwaite, council cabinet member for environment and sustainability, said: “It is widely known that the difference between 30mph and 20mph can be someone’s life.

“When driving at 30mph you have far less time to react to any incident – a car braking from 30 mph will still be travelling at 22mph when one braking from 20mph will have stopped.

“By driving at a more steady speed we can all feel safer and more confident on the roads, whether we’re in a car, on a bike or on foot.”

Lambeth council is in charge of the majority of roads in the borough, apart from the major routes into and around London, which are controlled by Transport for London.

As well as all council controlled roads becoming 20mph, TfL plans to introduce the same limit on roads it manages in the borough from April, including Brixton town centre, Clapham High Street and Stamford Street.

Lilli Matson, TfL head of strategy and outcome planning, said: “We are working closely with pioneering boroughs like Lambeth who are moving ahead with borough-wide programmes for 20mph zones.”

They would not only reduce the number of road casualties but also increase active travel like walking and cycling and enhance areas where people live, work and shop, she said.

“These lower speed limits form a key part of our continuing work to make London safer, pleasant and more attractive for all.”



  1. Are Lambeth Council really moving ahead with borough wide 20 mph limit? Sticking the odd 20 sign up and painting a nice big 20 on the road will not and has not made a bit of difference where I live in Tulse Hill. TFL and Lambeth Council are in a fantasy land if they think that by doing this it will slow traffic to 20mph and below. It needs proper investment in traffic calming measures and cameras to reduce speed by any significant amount otherwise it is nothing more than a gimmick. As I said in my last comment get out on the roadside and see how many vehicles travel at 20. Even some of your buses don’t bother with the 20 limit so that does not bode well for other vehicles.

  2. I’m a driver. And in favour of slowing traffic in populated areas. But without speed cameras in every side road, speeding drivers will continue to speed.

  3. Absolutely stupid idea. Bringing the most vulnerable road users(Cyclists) in line with the most dangerous speed wise.

    Hows this for a plan of action.

    Cyclists have to be insured. Why not other road users have to be.

    Chips on bikes to identify those who jump red lights or use pelican crossing to avoid the red lights.

    Road safety awareness courses for cyclists. Buy a bike then get on the road. Can’t count the number of times I’ve been passed on the right and left by a cyclists. Danger to themselves.

    If the safety of cyclists is paramount then finish the bike lanes.

  4. Completely bonkers to put this limit on main roads like Coldharbour Lane, Acre Lane, Effra Road etc. Will we all waste petrol driving in 3rd gear? How will it be enforced? Why didn’t they just rigidly enforce the widely flouted 30 limit? Why are the traffic lights still timed at 30 mph? Is the signage legal?

    I suppose they will claim success when average speeds have been reduced to 25 mph. All they will have succeeded in will be turning all drivers into law-breakers.

    • Jonathan, this is completely meaningless. The 30mph limits were very rarely enforced, why should the 20mph limit be any different? In Tulse Hill we have had ’20’ signs painted onto the road surface. No other speed reduction measures have been installed, no other signage, no cameras, absolutely nothing. Vehicles speed down Tulse Hill and no doubt many are the same vehicles Alastair (comment below) witnesses speeding along Effra Road as both roads connect at Brixton Water Lane. Any Lambeth Councillor, especially the Tulse Hill Labour Councillors, the Cabinet member for transport, yourself and/or any Lambeth Officer from the Transport Department should stand at the roadside in Tulse Hill, besides the Tesco Express is ideal and watch the vehicles speed down. At night this is even worse with speeds in excess of 50-60 mph from some drivers. 20 mph is completely irrelevant and it is not just an individual isolated driver, it is numerous vehicles that speed down this road. What is really concerning is that Tulse Hill has a number of park entrances, two schools and around 10 bus stops on it right beside the kerb with no barrier between it and the road. Painted numbers on the road surface will not change anything as these comments clearly show, but go and see it for yourself.

    • As per my other remark – I notice rather too many politicians and people in the public realm who seem to believe that “we talked about it” or “we passed a law about it” is the same as “it took place”. Not so.

  5. The first comment hits the nail on the head – the existing speed limit, never mind the new one, is not enforced as far as I can tell except on Brixton Hill (where there is a speed camera), and blue banners hanging from lamp-posts are not going to do anything – too many people could not care less about the safety of others.

    Early this morning there were cars and vans doing 50mph easily on Effra Road and, as for my residential road, that can often be topped even though it is three and a half cars wide.

    I recall that, some months ago, there was a call from Lambeth Council for volunteers with radar guns, which seemed to me to amount to “how to be assaulted or worse without trying” for anyone crazy enough to volunteer.

    Is there ever going to be any real enforcement?

  6. Thoroughly approve of this. But do these limits have ANY legal standing at ALL? If someone speeds down eg Railton Rd do the police have any powers to prosecute if you’re going over the 20 ‘speed limit’.? I look forward to many tickets and ticking a off to miscreants, but in reality it’s just a meaningless ‘nudge’ with no legal teeth. Do hope I’m wrong. Can Lambeth clarify the position please?

    • They have the same legal standing as any other speed limit, so will no doubt be ignored by most motorists and the police. But if enough drivers do abide by the new limits, then others and even the police will have to fall into line. Which will be better for all.

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