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Roads and highways - speed limits

Speed is a significant factor in about one third of road accidents in the United Kingdom. This is particularly so in urban areas, where speeding vehicles can adversely affect the quality of life of many communities.

Speed limits are introduced to ensure greater road safety. Measures for influencing the speed of vehicles generally fall into two categories, legislative and physical. Speed limits fall into the first category whereas traffic calming devices would fall into the second.

For information on how speed limits are set, please see setting speed limits produced by the Department For Transport.

Comprehensive information on the speed limits you would expect to come across on the different category of road is given in chart form in The Highway Code. You can also view information on 20mph speed limits and zones.

How do I set about getting a speed limit lowered, raised or extended?

If you would like a speed limit to be lowered, raised or extended, please contact us using the details above. Your request will then be assessed. The police view on a change to a speed limit is important and will be sought. Account should also be taken of the characteristics of the road, such as its alignment, the level of activity alongside the road, the accident record and the degree of severance caused to a community by the speed of vehicles.

In urban areas, speed limits should fit into a rational and easily understood hierarchy if they are to be observed by drivers. Before deciding to change an existing speed limit the Highway Authority must consider all the relevant factors such as:

  • expected accident savings.
  • improvement to the environment.
  • improvement in amenities.
  • reduction in public anxiety.
  • improved facilities for vulnerable road users.
  • delays to traffic.
  • costs of implementation.
  • costs of engineering measures and their maintenance.
  • costs of enforcement, especially where the speed limit is regarded as unreasonable by drivers.

If it is considered that a change in the speed limit is warranted then a new Speed limit Order has to be made. This involves a statutory legal process that takes approximately 9 months to complete.

If you wish to report a vandalised/missing speed limit sign, please contact Hampshire County Council on http://www.hants.gov.uk/transport/roadmaintenance/roadproblems/brokensigns or call 0300 555 1388.

If the road in question has a system of street lighting on it with no speed limit repeater signs the road is already subject to 30mph and as such the Highway Authority is not permitted to place 30mph repeater signs on it. The system of street lighting in a built up area should be sufficient evidence of 30mph limit.

Updated: 7 Feb 2017
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