Interactive map shows UK's 20mph hotspots

Revealed: Map shows UK’s 20mph hotspots as Rishi Sunak clamps down on councils’ powers to impose lower speed limits – with 28million people living under authorities with them in place or set to come in

  • More than a third of population live in council areas with 20mph speed curbs
  • Rishi Sunak will unveil measures limiting council powers to impose zones

An interactive map has revealed Britain’s 20mph hotspots as Rishi Sunak is set to unveil pro-motorist measures limiting council powers to impose the zones.

The map by campaign group 20’s Plenty For Us shows areas where local authorities have imposed 20mph limits or plan to. 

Some 28million people across the UK – more than a third of the country’s population – now live in council areas that are pro-20mph limits, according to the organisation.

The Prime Minister is hoping to gain drivers’ support by announcing a ‘Plan for Motorists’ at the Tory conference early next week.

His pledges are set to include a restriction on the number of hours a day that cars are banned on bus lanes and curbing the use of number plate recognition cameras.

There will also be limits on councils’ ability to levy fines and raise revenue from traffic cameras and box junction infringements.

Motoring groups have welcomed the news, slamming ‘overzealous council leaders’ who they say have ‘proved they cannot be trusted to implement sensible transport policy’. 

This map by 20’s Plenty For Us shows 20mph local authorities across the UK in green shading

A Department for Transport source has described the policies reported in several newspapers, which have not yet been discussed with councils, as ‘speculation’.

List of 20mph highway authorities in the UK

Here is a list from 20’s Plenty For Us of what it described as ’20mph highway authorities’ across the UK:

County councils

  • Cambridgeshire
  • Lancashire
  • Oxfordshire

Unitary authorities

  • Bath and North East Somerset
  • Brighton and Hove
  • Bristol, City of
  • Cheshire West and Chester
  • Cornwall
  • Darlington
  • East Riding of Yorkshire
  • Herefordshire, County of
  • Kingston upon Hull, City of
  • Leicester
  • Middlesbrough
  • Luton
  • Nottingham
  • Portsmouth
  • Southampton
  • Southend-on-Sea
  • Warrington
  • York

Metropolitan districts

  • Birmingham
  • Bolton
  • Bradford
  • Bury
  • Calderdale
  • Coventry
  • Doncaster
  • Leeds
  • Liverpool
  • Manchester
  • Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • Rochdale
  • Sefton
  • Sheffield
  • South Tyneside
  • St Helens
  • Stockport
  • Wigan
  • Wirral

London boroughs

  • Camden
  • City of London
  • Croydon
  • Ealing
  • Hackney
  • Hammersmith & Fulham
  • Haringey
  • Hounslow
  • Islington
  • Kensington & Chelsea
  • Kingston
  • Lambeth
  • Lewisham
  • Mitcham
  • Newham
  • Richmond
  • Southwark
  • Tower Hamlets
  • Waltham Forest
  • Wandsworth
  • Westminster

Scottish authorities

  • Clackmannanshire
  • Edinburgh
  • Fife
  • Glasgow
  • Highland
  • Scottish Borders
  • West Dunbartonshire


  • Wales

Mr Sunak has already pledged to crack down on ‘anti-motorist’ policies and has ordered a review into low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs).

It is believed to be part of a strategy to draw a dividing line between the Tories and Labour by portraying the Government as being on the side of drivers.

Last night Mr Sunak said he will ‘probably be driving’ to Manchester for the party’s annual conference, which starts this Sunday, due to train strikes.

He also told BBC Radio Manchester that the ‘vast majority of the journeys that people make are in their cars. The journeys that people use in Greater Manchester and across the North, it’s in their cars, right now, getting to work, taking their kids to school.

‘Making sure the roads are free of potholes, that’s priority number one people raise with me.’

The reports just days after the PM announced a relaxation of Net Zero policies, including delaying a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 to 2035.

Speaking in July, Mr Sunak said: ‘The vast majority of people in the country use their cars to get around and are dependent on their cars.

‘When I’m lucky enough to get home to North Yorkshire, it’s more representative of how most of the country is living, where cars are important.

‘I just want to make sure people know that I’m on their side in supporting them to use their cars to do all the things that matter to them.’

At the time, the Daily Mail revealed how the rollout of green traffic schemes was set to be slowed or even reversed under government plans for a ‘new deal for the motorist’.

Ministers are also considering a big expansion of funding to fill in potholes.

A Tory source said: ‘Labour are vulnerable on this stuff because they do not understand how ordinary people live.

‘When you look at how they act in power, whether it’s London or Wales or Oxford, they just want to penalise drivers at every turn. We have an opportunity here to stand up for those people.’

In the Uxbridge by-election this summer, Labour were punished by voters after London Mayor Sadiq Khan pressed on with the expansion of the capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez), which imposes a £12.50 daily levy on non-compliant vehicles.

Bob Bull, chairman of the Alliance of British Drivers, said: ‘This would be a welcome shift in attitude from the Government.

‘Overzealous council leaders across the country have proved that they cannot be trusted to implement sensible transport policy. They have made drivers’ lives a misery.

‘Putting an end to nonsense such as 20mph speed limits would get the country moving again.

‘Ending the war on motorists will hopefully become an integral part of the Government’s agenda.’

Nicholas Lyes, director of policy at road safety charity IAM RoadSmart, said ‘there is an argument’ for strengthening guidance on the use of 20mph zones.

He said: ‘It’s clear 20mph limits have a role to play in improving road safety, but the proliferation of blanket limits without physical changes to road layouts means compliance is often poor.

‘For the most part, drivers support targeted 20mph limits in high-risk locations and local authorities are usually best placed to judge the location of these.

‘There is an argument, however, to strengthen guidance on how we make these limits more effective.’

RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: ‘While we support the use of 20mph limits being used where they are needed most, such as outside schools, on residential streets and in urban areas where there are lots of pedestrians, implementing them in widespread fashion may unnecessarily lengthen journey times by slowing down traffic, and possibly even increase congestion.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, pictured visiting a community centre in Hertfordshire on Monday, is set to unveil pro-motorist measures limiting council powers to impose 20mph zones

‘We need councils to strike the right balance between making our roads safer and ensuring the smooth flow of traffic, in all its forms.

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‘We need to see the detail of the PM’s plan to see whether what’s proposed will really help with that.’

An RAC-commissioned survey of 3,102 motorists indicated that the most common reason drivers give for exceeding 20mph limits is because they think the restriction is inappropriate for that particular road.

The poll was conducted by research company Online95 between April and May last year.

Sarah Mitchell, chief executive of charity Cycling UK, accused the Government of ‘focusing on one way of travelling’.

She added: ‘Better public transport and safer ways for people to cycle and walk are entirely compatible with driving.’

A joint statement by the chief executives of Bikeability Trust, British Cycling, Cycling UK, Living Streets, Ramblers and Sustrans said: ‘When ministers could be promoting public transport, cycling and walking as cheap sustainable options in a cost-of-living and climate crisis, they’re entrenching congestion and reliance on driving for short local journeys.

‘When the Government could respect people’s freedom to choose how they travel, it’s removing the alternatives.

‘This is a plan that looks no further than one way of travelling and will make the roads worse for those occasions when people do need to drive.’

A 20mph sign on Penarth Road in Cardiff last week after a default speed limit was introduced 

Treasury minister Andrew Griffith said the Prime Minister is ‘very focused on making sure that motorists get a fair deal’.

READ MORE Mark Drakeford fails to rule out ULEZ-style charging schemes on Wales’ busiest roads as First Minister is quizzed over further ‘anti-car’ plans in wake of backlash against national 20mph limit

He told Sky News: ‘A blanket measure is rarely a good idea. So if that’s something like we’ve seen in Wales, where vast parts of that province have had arbitrary speed limits imposed on them, then I don’t think that’s the right approach, just as it’s not the right approach to blanket the whole of Greater London with Ulez and a higher cost for motorists.’

He added on LBC: ‘I think we are the party of the motorist and that’s not just something that has happened now.’

Earlier this month, Wales became the first country in the UK to drop the default speed limit from 30mph to 20mph for restricted roads.

This week Welsh deputy climate change minister Lee Waters faced a no-confidence vote after leading the introduction of the policy, although the bid to have him sacked failed.

The Welsh Government is predicting its change to 20mph speed limits will save up to 100 lives and 20,000 casualties in the first decade.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said there is ‘incontrovertible’ evidence that ‘driving more slowly in built-up urban areas saves people’s lives’.

A DfT-commissioned study published in November 2018 found 20mph limits in residential areas were supported by the majority of residents and drivers.

The research said cutting limits from 30mph to 20mph resulted in a reduction in average speed of less than 1mph, but vehicles travelling faster before the change generally lowered their speed more than slower vehicles.

The report concluded there was no evidence of a significant drop in the number of crashes and casualties after the introduction of 20mph limits.

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