My Views

July 25th, 2023
Written by John Grogan 

I should like to suggest a compromise solution regarding the 20mph speed limit in Ilkley.

I support the introduction of a 20mph speed limit throughout the town in line with the aspirations of the Ilkley Development Local Plan. Around 28 million people in the United Kingdom already or soon will live in places which have this speed limit outside their homes and benefit in terms of increased safety and an improved local environment for walkers and cyclists. The campaign to make 20mph the norm in built up areas has attracted widespread cross party support across England. For example in England’s second greatest county in Cornwall the Conservative administration on the county council were elected on a manifesto promise to introduce such a limit.

In Ilkley, it is worth noting that Bradford Council are proposing 133 Speed Cushions (which is a short raised, rounded device which cyclists can avoid) and 10 speed tables (which is a raised section of road with a ramp on both sides). It is also worth noting that some traffic calming already exists outside Ben Rhydding School and Ilkley Coronation Hospital. There are no proposals for speed humps such as those at Burley Woodhead.

I would like to propose that at this stage calming measures be implemented primarily focusing on roads near to schools. 

I would suggest that in the rest of the proposed 20mph area signage is used in the first instance as the primary method of enforcement. 

I would also suggest a review is held a year after the implementation of the 20mph scheme to examine whether any further measures are required for enforcement. In that year I would hope that an Active Travel Plan could be produced for Ilkley to encourage walking and cycling in consultation with all the various stakeholders. I think it particularly important to hear the voices of children and young people under 18 who, whilst they do not have votes, have a particular interest in this issue. 

There has been some debate around the fact that some of the roads which are proposed to be part of the 20mph hour have current average speeds above 25mph and West Yorkshire Police as a consultee favour the use of physical enforcement measures in such circumstances. In this regard I have read carefully the briefings of the national campaign group ‘20’s Plenty for Us’. They make clear that it is up to highways authorities to decide what measures to take in such circumstances and it is perfectly possible for the primary emphasis to be on signage as in Wales. There is no requirement by Government for highways authorities to take engineering measures if speeds prior to the introduction of a 20mph limit are above 24mph.

I quote directly below from a briefing from ‘20’s plenty for us'

"When looking at 20mph as an area-wide implementation there will be a mix of average pre-speeds. In the past it is true that implementations have often excluded roads with pre-speeds above 24mph or where they have included them have resorted to physical calming.

However in the last 5 years there have been a developing practice of including faster roads without using physical calming. On such roads reductions have been found of 5-6 mph which whilst not ensuring compliance have resulted in a considerable reduction of risk to road users and a far greater sense of place and comfort for pedestrians and cyclists.

See our briefing at

And so whilst early implementations of signage without physical calming and excluding faster roads  showed small reductions in average speed, later introductions are showing much larger overall reductions and this is skewed to larger reduction on the faster roads with greater volumes of traffic and motor/cycle/pedestrian conflict. Hence the “old” view of slow roads only unless accompanied by physical calming is changing to “community-wide regardless of pre-speed”.

There is absolutely no requirement by Government to take engineering measures if pre-speeds are above 24 mph. All the DfT guidance says is that schemes where av speeds are already 24mph or below are most likely to achieve compliance. The 01/2013 guidance actually references the application of 20mph limits in Portsmouth where pre-speeds were above 24mph (Para 92). It also suggests actions that highways can take to increase compliance in such streets and these include additional signage, vehicle activated signs, safety cameras as well as light-touch engineering. The latter can include lane width reduction, removal of centre white lines, addition of mandatory cycle lanes, etc.

WE have a blog on the “25mph conundrum” at