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‘Blanket’ 20mph speed limits to cut road injuries in London borough

Roads with a 20mph limit did experience a reduction in traffic, according to the report (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Archive)
Roads with a 20mph limit did experience a reduction in traffic, according to the report (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Archive)

Newham is set to roll out “blanket” 20mph speed limits across the borough after seeing more than 1,000 serious crashes a year.

The council wants to enforce the speed restrictions on all of its roads in a bid to improve safety and reduce pollution.

Newham saw 5,200 people hurt in collisions over the five years from October 2017 to October 2022, according to TfL data.

They included 16 deaths, 598 serious injuries and 4,585 slight injuries, the town hall said.

Almost all of the most serious crashes, including the deaths of 15 people, happened on roads where the speed limit was 30mph or over.

“The scheme will be rolled out gradually over the next two years across the borough, which will be divided into different lots or zones,” Newham council said.

“The specific boundaries of each lot or zone will be decided at a later stage.”

It added: “Reducing the speed limit to 20mph in certain areas can have significant benefits for road safety, health and wellbeing, and health inequalities.

“Research has demonstrated that lower speeds can decrease the likelihood and severity of collisions, as well as increase the survival rate of pedestrians who are hit by vehicles.”

Private roads, the A13 Newham Way and A406 North Circular will not be included, according to the plans due to be signed off by the council’s cabinet next week.

City Hall has also requested that the Lower Lea Crossing be exempt from the speed restrictions as they plan to adopt the road once the Silvertown Tunnel is completed. It

It comes after reports that the Government is considering a crackdown on councils imposing 20mph speed limits and other traffic restrictions.

Earlier this month Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “I think a blanket reduction to 20mph doesn’t make sense.

“It [will] just add cost and complexity, it will cause people to make that adjustment and just get in the way of their ordinary lives.”

New 20mph speed limits were introduced on stretches of roads in five London boroughs earlier this year as part of a Transport for London scheme.

The restrictions were put in place along 17 miles of red routes in Camden, Islington, Hackney, Haringey and Tower Hamlets in a bid to improve road safety.

It was part of Sadiq Khan’s Vision Zero plan to eliminate road deaths and serious injury.

TfL has accelerated the roll-out so that, by next year, about 125 miles of its roads will have 20mph speed limits.

Southwark, Wandsworth and Islington have also enforced extensive speed restrictions.