Department for Transport
Printable version E-mail this to a friend

Traffic authorities to review local speed limits

New guidance to assist local authorities in setting local speed limits was published today by the Department for Transport.

The guidance, designed to promote greater clarity and consistency, covers the setting of all local speed limits on single and dual carriageway roads where drivers should adopt a different speed to the national limit.

Traffic Authorities have specifically been asked to review the speed limits on all of their A and B roads and implement any changes by 2011.

Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman said:

"Realistic and consistent speed limits help to keep traffic moving freely and safely. Our new guidance encourages lowering speed limits where the evidence warrants it but equally traffic authorities should consider increasing limits if it can be done safely.

"The guidance also encourages traffic authorities to set limits that reflect the road environment and characteristic, and which drivers will instinctively understand."

The new guidance takes account of important road safety developments over the last decade including speed limits in villages and 20mph speed limits and zones. There are no plans to change national speed limits.


1. The road safety strategy Tomorrow's Roads - Safer for Everyone included a commitment to update the guidance to traffic authorities on the setting of local speed limits.

2. The guidance does not cover or change the three default national speed limits: the urban 30mph speed limit on street lit roads (sometimes referred to as Restricted Roads), the national speed limit 60mph on single carriageway roads, 70mph on dual carriageways and motorways.

3. The Highways Agency is responsible for determining local speed limits on the trunk road and motorway network, and Local Traffic Authorities for determining local speed limits on the local roads.

4. The new guidance replaces the previous advice issued in Circular Roads 1/93, which is now cancelled.

5. The new guidance follows a consultation exercise held over the period 22 November 2004 - 18 February 2005.

6. The Secretary of State for Transport announced on 15 December 2005 that traffic authorities would be asked to review the speed limits on their A & B roads, in accordance with this new guidance, by 2011.

7. The guidance covers English Traffic Authorities. Separate, but consistent guidance is today being published by the Scottish Executive for use by traffic authorities in Scotland. The Welsh Assembly Government will publish similar guidance for use by traffic authorities in Wales in due course.

8. For messages on road safety and safe speeds please see

Public Enquiries: 020 7944 8300
Department for Transport Website:

Join us as a trustee & help us make a difference...find out more