20mph Speed Limits in Residential Areas

The Council Plan for 2016 – 2020 includes a Transport commitment to introduce 20mph speed limits into new estates and to support any community that requests a 20mph speed limit.


The Council receives many requests to establish 20mph speed limits in residential areas. Although the introduction of 20mph restrictions are often linked to the need to improve safety, there are a range of wider benefits such as encouraging more walking and cycling; facilitating social interaction and in general, providing a more pleasant place for people to live.

To achieve sustained and meaningful speed reductions it is important to ensure there is good local support together with appropriate signing and additional measures to help change behavior. The support of a majority of local residents is essential for these measures to be successful.

Our new approach to introducing 20mph restrictions in residential areas aims to encourage and support their wider use in a consistent and managed way.  This will positively impact on the quality of life and safety of residents, particularly the more vulnerable such as the elderly and children.

This information is provided to help citizens wishing to apply for a 20mph speed restriction.  It is important to consider the level of support within a community in advance of completing an application.  Citizens will be able to submit formal applications via this webpage in April 2019. 

Regulations for Introducing 20mph restrictions.

There are two approaches that may be used when implementing restrictions either through a 20mph limit or a 20mph zone

  • 20mph speed limits can be introduced through a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) and supported by signing only. These are used where vehicle speeds are already relatively low and therefore compliance is easy to achieve.
  • 20mph speed limit zones can also be introduced through a TRO but are supported by both signing and physical speed control measures. This approach is used where vehicle speeds are higher and helps to achieve compliance.

In new estates, roads can be designed to naturally support a 20mph speed restriction. 

Supporting 20mph restrictions in Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes Council wishes to support local communities in ensuring that appropriate speeds are used when travelling through residential areas. Applications for new 20mph restrictions which are supported by a majority of local residents will be positively considered. 

On receipt of an application the following options will be considered: 

20mph speed limit with terminal and repeater signing only

Where mean speeds are already below 24mph the introduction of a 20mph speed limit using terminal and repeater signing only.

20mph speed limit with signing and speed control measures

To help achieve compliance, where mean speeds are 25mph or above, it could be necessary to include additional speed control measures in addition to the terminal and repeater signing.

20mph speed limit zone with signing and speed control measures

To help achieve compliance, where mean speeds are 25mph or above it could be necessary to include additional speed control measures in addition to the terminal and repeater signing so that no point within the zone is more than 50m from adjacent speed control measures.

Do Minimum

Some recently constructed estates already have mean vehicle speeds that lie within 20mph and we could consider a signing only approach at minimal costs.  

Complex Sites

For older existing estates which have 30mph speed limits and would be complex to alter, we would work with the Police and stakeholders to consider options to help support the introduction of a new 20mph restriction.

The success of 20mph restrictions in residential areas often hinges on the willingness of the residents to alter their own behavior and where a new 20mph speed restriction is requested the Council will require evidence that there is majority support for this and seek collective support directly by calling on residents and community members to sign up to a communal “pledge of support” to obey the revised 20mph speed limit.

For more information, or to discuss the potential for a 20mph speed restriction in a residential area please email the Councils Highways Team

Implementation and Compliance

A programme of sites will be developed for future implementation up to the available budget in any one year.  Where a site is prioritised for implementation, further engagement with the local representatives will take place to provide information on the scheme design and to agree how the scheme will be implemented and monitored.

The aim will always be to achieve a scheme that is self-enforcing and/or where maximum encouragement is provided to achieve compliance without the need for enforcement.

For older estates much work will be required to limit vehicle speed. Guidance states that in a 20mph zone, one should be no further than 50m away from a speed reducing measure.

Working with the Police we will be explore innovative methods to increase compliance and lower speeds, allowing some of the more difficult sites to be considered for 20mph restrictions. 

Last Updated: 17 April 2019