The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Stephen Hammond): The Department has today published a revised speed limit circular, “Setting Local Speed Limits” (DFT Circular 01/2013). This follows a consultation held last summer, the report of which is also published today. The Department is also today publishing a speed limit appraisal tool, which will be hosted on the DFT’s website. These follow up key commitments from the Government’s “Strategic Framework for Road Safety” published in May 2011.
Setting the right local speed limits is vital for road safety, local growth and local health outcomes. Speed limits need to be suitable for local conditions and local authorities are best placed to develop solutions that suit their communities, working in conjunction with law enforcement agencies and taking on board the views of the community they serve.
The updated circular gives guidance to local councils which will help them implement more consistent speed limits on local roads. It incorporates recent changes that create more flexibility for authorities to implement 20 mph limits and zones. It also sets out the process for applications for further rural 40 mph zones. To date no applications have been made for new areas.
The speed limit appraisal tool will help councils assess the full costs and benefits of any proposed local speed limit schemes, and help them to make evidence-based decisions to introduce local speed limits that reflect the needs of all road users. As well as casualties and other traffic effects, we have made particular efforts to build into the tool effects that cannot be monetised, such as those that enhance quality of life.
The revised circular replaces Circular 01/2006, also called “Setting Local Speed Limits”, which is now withdrawn.
I am placing a copy of the circular and the consultation report in the Library of the House.