North Yorkshire County Council




11 January 2022


Review of 20mph Speed Limit Policy


Report of the Corporate Director – Business and Environmental Services


1.0          Purpose of Report


1.1       To set out how the recommendations of the Transport, Economy and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee (TEE O&S) review of the existing 20mph speed limit policy have been achieved and;


1.2       To seek Executive approval of the revised draft 20mph Speed Limit and Zone Policy



2.0         Background


2.1       Under his delegated decision making powers in the Officers’ Delegation Scheme in the Council’s Constitution, the Chief Executive Officer has power, in cases of emergency, to take any decision which could be taken by the Council, the Executive or a committee.  


2.2       Following on from the expiry of the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 (“the 2020 Regulations”), which allowed for committee meetings to be held remotely, the County Council resolved at its meeting on 5 May 2021 (before the expiry of the Regulations) that, for the present time, in light of the continuing Covid-19 pandemic circumstances, remote live-broadcast committee meetings should continue as informal meetings of the committee Members, with any formal decisions required being taken by the Chief Executive Officer under his emergency decision making powers and after consultation with other Officers and Members as appropriate and after taking into account any views of the relevant Committee Members and all relevant information.  This approach has been periodically reviewed since that time and will be further reviewed by full Council at its February 2022 meeting.


2.3       A review of the County Council’s current 20mph policy was instigated by the publication of the Department for Transport (DfT)/Atkins national research project report on the effectiveness of 20mph speed limits and zones. A TEE O&S Task Group of Elected Members was set up with input and representation received from NYCC Traffic Engineering, Road Safety and Public Health Teams, North Yorkshire Police and the 20s Plenty campaign organisation.


2.4       The aims of the review were:

·        To consider the findings of the 20mph Research Study: National Research Project (the ‘Atkins report’)

·                To examine the DfT’s guidance on 20mph speed limits (Setting Local Speed Limits: DfT Circular 01/2013.) and relevant legislation

·        To examine the County Council’s current policy on the introduction of 20mph speed limits and how it is applied

·        To consider whether there is a need to change the County Council’s current policy on the introduction of 20mph speed limits

·        To consider other measures to be adopted

·        To take evidence from NYCC Highways Officers, NYCC Road Safety, 95 Alive Partnership, North Yorkshire Police and the 20s Plenty Campaign.


2.5       In November 2020, the County Council’s Executive approved the TEE O&S Committee review report and its recommendations to amend the existing 20mph speed limit policy.


3.0         Report Recommendations


3.1         The TEE O&S Committee review report made nine recommendations, which are set out below in italics, alongside an update on how each have either been incorporated into the revised draft policy or work process of the responsible teams.


3.2       Recommendation 1

The policy should be more explicit in considering 20mph speed limits around schools and consideration given to extending the distance traditionally considered around schools in order to encourage greater use of active modes of transport.

3.2.1    The draft revised policy (Appendix 1) sets out the philosophy for practical application largely based on the Department for Transport (DfT) circular 01/13 Setting Local Speed Limits that is the national guidance document for highway authorities.  Nevertheless, it also now extends the criteria for consideration of 20mph speed limits from a purely quantitative analysis of a location’s collision history, as is presently the case, to one that includes a sense of place and recognises the importance of encouraging active and sustainable transport options, such as walking and cycling. 


3.2.2    The TEE O&S Committee concluded that it was not appropriate to have a standard or default application e.g. outside every school, community amenity or residential area, rather that each application will be assessed on its own merit.  Nevertheless, there is an expectation of a move towards lower speed limits, especially outside of schools and the revised policy recognises this.  Typically, assessments have been focused only on the road(s) requested to be changed.  The draft policy sets out the need for a broader assessment to encourage modal shift to active forms of travel and identifying links to supporting policy.


3.3       Recommendation 2

With reference to KSI figures, work is undertaken by the County Council’s highways department to ascertain the percentage of 30mph speed limits against the percentage of 50mph or 60mph speed limits in the county.


3.3.1    The Traffic Engineering and Road Safety teams undertake annual and in-year collision data analysis to identify high-risk sites and routes and detect any underlying causations and trends such as road user type, causation factor, type of manoeuvre etc.  This work will identify if there is a particular issue with speed being the main causation factor within 30mph or other speed limits that can be compared as a percentage.  Research during the review identified that speed was not a leading causation of collisions in North Yorkshire, however for the purposes of further monitoring and reporting, the Road Casualties - North Yorkshire annual report now includes a section on the number of collisions by speed limit and severity, showing the respective percentages.


3.4       Recommendation 3

The County Council’s highways department draws up a list of high risk collision areas using three years’ worth of data to examine whether an area would benefit from a 20mph speed limit, taking into account the function of the road and the road environment.


3.4.1    The County Council’s Traffic Engineering Team maintains a list of cluster sites and high risk routes in both urban and rural settings.  This forms the basis for the annual Accident Investigation and Prevention (AIP) programme of capital works, i.e. road safety engineering schemes to reduce the number and severity of collisions on the local road network.


3.4.2    This work will continue and should any subsequent investigations reveal that there are locations with a history of speed related collisions that would benefit from a reduced limit, including 20mph speed limits, then such measures would be taken forward.


3.5       Recommendation 4

An examination be undertaken of the consistency of how the 20mph Speed Limit Policy is applied by each Area Highways Offices.


3.5.1    Consideration has been given as to how the existing 20mph Speed Limit Policy (2006) has been applied by Area Teams.  Substantially the existing policy provides a sufficiently clear steer as to the circumstances that support the implementation of speed limits and zones.  It allows for the use of DfT Circular 01/13 to provide the primary guidance for engineers to determine site suitability.  For assurance, the required examination has been undertaken and there is no evidence to suggest there has been inconsistent application of the policy.  The policy is consistent with advice contained in previous DfT documents which helps ensure consistency in its application.


3.5.2    Officers will undertake periodic reviews in order to ensure there is a consistent approach to policy application.    


3.6       Recommendation 5

A list of schools be drawn up that have a 20mph speed limit in the county.


3.6.1    A list of schools has been drawn up and will retained on file and updated accordingly to provide a context of number and distribution throughout the county.  This information will also be made available on the County Council website. See Appendix 2.


3.7       Recommendation 6

Communications should be improved in relation to North Yorkshire County Council’s Policy for 20mph Speed Limits by:

·       The document appearing as a stand-alone document on North Yorkshire County Council’s Speed limits, speeding and road safety concerns webpage so that it is easier to search for and be known to members of the public;

·        Reference to the policy inserted in the ‘Safer Roads, Healthier Places, York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Strategy’ and vice versa;

·        All references to DfT Circular 01/2006 be removed and replaced with references to DfT Circular 01/2013;

·       Making it clear that the policy does not relate to 20mph zones.


3.7.1    The new policy will be added to the County Council website as a stand-alone document that is easily accessible.  The policy, once approved, will also be referenced in the York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Strategy. 


3.7.2    The revised draft policy has replaced or updated all references to DfT and other supporting documents.


3.7.3    With regard to the final point of the recommendation, i.e. the policy to apply to speed limits only, not zones; it was agreed at the July 2021 TEE O&S mid cycle briefing meeting that the policy should also apply to 20mph zones.


3.8       Recommendation 7

The 95 Alive Partnership actively promotes North Yorkshire Police’s ‘Operation Spartan’ initiative, in order to raise awareness that dash cam footage can be used to capture dangerous driving and potentially lead to a conviction.


3.8.1    The Partnership, recently renamed York & North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership, continues to promote Operation Spartan as business as usual via its website, social media and in face to face events and training. Officers have already made the partnership aware of the draft revised 20mph policy and will again bring it to the attention of the partnership once approved.


3.9       Recommendation 8

When considering planning applications for new housing or commercial development, North Yorkshire County Council, in its capacity as the lead Highways Authority and as statutory consultee to the planning process, needs to continue to ensure it makes recommendations to local planning authorities based on written national policy indicating the appropriate best practice and guidelines for the implementation of measures. This is in order to design out speed as part of the condition of approval and to put in place infrastructure to create safe walking and cycling routes.


3.9.1    As discussed as part of the task group review, this is established standard practice and will continue to be the case.  The County Council’s Development Management Team apply the principles of Manual for Streets 1 and 2, along with other approved NYCC minimum standards in their assessment of planning applications and continue to consider ways of ensuring that appropriate designs are delivered through the planning process.


3.9.2    The principles of the Manual for Streets documents are to encourage and improve the design and use of streets with a focus on road user hierarchy that includes detailed consideration on setting the appropriate speed limit to support different uses.  All new roads proposed as part of a development, must be of a design that physically promotes lower vehicle speeds and creates an environment supportive of pedestrian and cycling movements.


3.10     Recommendation 9

More broadly, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, for North Yorkshire County Council in partnership with a range of stakeholder interests to consider how our highways network can be used in the future to create a greener economy, taking into account the full range of road users and its use for leisure and work purposes


3.10.1  The draft revised policy acknowledges its links to benefits, which can be brought about through other policy and strategy commitments and provide a mechanism to allow the County Council to support and deliver the implementation of new 20mph speed limits.  These are for example; Local Cycling & Walking Improvement Plans, Active Travel Fund projects, Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy and the scrutiny of developer travel plans by sustainable travel officers to ensure all commitments are delivered.


4.0       Revised policy


4.1       Appended to this report as Appendix 1 is the revised policy document that sets out the national policy framework and rationale of implementing 20mph speed limits and zones.  It also sets out a detailed application and assessment process to ensure consistent application across the county.


5.0       Equalities


5.1       Consideration has been given to the potential for any adverse equalities impact arising from the recommendations of this report. It is the view of officers that the recommendations included in this report do not have any adverse impacts on any of the protected characteristics identified in the Equalities Act 2010 or NYCC’s additional agreed characteristics. However, it is worth noting that fully developed schemes, developed as a result of this report, will require a full Equalities Impact Assessment. The completed Equalities Impact Assessment screening form can be found in Appendix 3.


5.2       All individual proposals for a reduced speed limit will be subject to a full consultation exercise providing the opportunity for stakeholders to make representations on the proposal.


6.0       Finance


6.1       The proposed policy broadens the assessment criteria for evidencing the need for a 20mph speed limit or zone and therefore increasing the potential for a greater number of approved applications that require funding.  However, it is considered there are no significant additional financial implications arising as a result of the proposed policy as it is expected that justified schemes will be included and prioritised within existing road safety capital budgets or via grant funding opportunities or 3rd party contribution.


6.2       The assessment process requires the identification of the appropriate budget/funding at Step 5 and if none can be identified then the process would be held at this stage.  Officers would continue to investigate potential funding options whilst managing communication with the appropriate stakeholders.


7.0       Legal


7.1       Preparation of policy is part of the County Council’s function as Highway Authority and the Policy document is being prepared broadly in line with the DfT Circular 01/2013.  It is acknowledged that the establishment of any 20mph speed limit or zone will be subject to the appropriate statutory legal process for the making of Traffic Regulation Orders for speed limits and traffic calming measures.


8.0       Climate Change


8.1       Consideration has been given to the potential for any adverse impacts on climate change arising from the recommendations of this report.  A climate change assessment has been completed and included as Appendix 4 to this report.


9.0       Conclusion


9.1       In conclusion, it is considered that the review has been a valuable exercise clarifying the strategic approach the County Council wishes to take to the provision of 20mph speed limits and zones and referencing the latest national guidance and County Council policy.  By including in the draft policy document the rationale (policy framework and practical application) behind the agreed approach, along with a structured assessment process, it will provide for a more progressive approach to the consideration of 20mph speed limit applications. 


10.0     Recommendations


10.1     Having noted the report, Executive Members are asked to recommend to the Chief Executive Officer that using his emergency delegated powers, he approve the revised 20mph Speed Limit and Zone policy as set out in Appendix 1.





Corporate Director - Business and Environmental Services



Author of report: David Kirkpatrick




NYCC logo 2015_RGB

























1.0          Introduction


1.1         This policy supersedes the existing policy (2006).  Its purpose is to provide the framework within which North Yorkshire County Council will consider and assess the implementation of 20mh Speed Limits and Zones.


2.0          Policy Framework and Practical Application


3.1       The main theme of change in this new policy is to set a clear rationale and assessment process in its application and include the opportunity for greater focus on the sense of place and community, particularly around schools. 


3.2         Facts and figures will remain the key evidence base for decision making and although the County Council must still act in accordance with the DfT Circular 01/2013 Setting Local Speed Limits that provides the framework, key objectives and practical application of speed limits for local (highway) authorities, there is a recognition that additional consideration is given to how the locality is perceived and could be used with the introduction of a 20mph speed limit or zone. 


3.3         The County Council must also work in partnership with North Yorkshire Police which has enforcement responsibility for speed limits.  Likewise, North Yorkshire Police adhere to the guidance set out in Circular 01/2013 Setting Local Speed Limits and without their support it would be remiss of the County Council to implement a 20mph (or other) speed limit.


3.4         Another aim of the revised policy is to ensure consistency in assessment and application throughout the county, therefore a robust assessment process has been developed.  A 20mph speed limit or zone must be appropriate for that part of the network and fit with its current or planned change in operation.  Importantly, it must also be self-enforcing and operate without a reliance on police intervention. 


3.5         Introducing a 20mph speed limit or zone to a road(s) where drivers do not already substantially conform to and/or is generally inappropriate for that road(s), will likely result in poor compliance enforcement problems and understandable complaints.  Consequently, it may also result in drivers failing to comply with a 20mph speed limit where it has been appropriately applied for road safety reasons.  


3.6         Also, the County Council has a statutory duty to ensure the expeditious movement of traffic and efficient use of network through the reduction of delay and congestion.  Whilst there is a need to encourage lower use of private car and other motorised travel in favour of walking, cycling and other sustainable modes, those measures should not adversely impact the County Council discharging its duties.


3.7         It is possible to achieve 20mph speeds through signing and road markings only, on roads with a mean speed 24mph or lower.  However, where speeds are in excess of 24mph it is necessary to introduce physical traffic calming measures to forcibly reduce speed e.g. chicanes, speed cushions, priority working systems.


3.8         Typically, traffic calming measures are designed to be negotiated by travelling along road(s) at a consistent lower speed.  In reality, driver behaviour is often to speed up and slow down between traffic calming features, which can result in greater emissions and noise and generally negate any benefit of the lower limit. 

3.9         Due to site constraints such as road alignment, the presence of private driveways, side road junctions and the loss of on-street parking, there can be significant challenges implementing traffic calming in North Yorkshire towns, villages and other rural locations. Effectively 20mph speed limits or zones must be self-enforcing by either by formalising existing behaviour or through the implementation of an appropriate system of physical measures where possible.


3.10     Notwithstanding the above, the benefits lower speed limits can bring to communities are fully accepted and modal shift is a key objective.   Part of delivering this ambition includes investigating the need for 20mph speed limits and zones to make routes potentially safer, more accessible and encourage greater uptake. 


4.0       20mph Speed Limits and Zones


4.1       20mph zones typically cover a number of urban roads and require traffic calming measures with no point within a zone being more than 50m from a physical feature or 20mph sign/roundel.  A zone is indicated by entry and exit signage only.  Zones are appropriate for roads where average speeds are less than 30mph.


4.2       20mph speed limits are signed only roads i.e. without physical traffic calming measures and therefore most appropriate for a road(s) where average vehicle speeds are already low i.e. at or below 24mph.  As per zones, repeater signs or roundels on the carriageway can be used to increase awareness.


4.3       Existing 20mph zones in North Yorkshire are predominantly used in the vicinity of schools and moving forward zones can still be used unless motor vehicle movement is the primary function.


4.4       When assessing applications for a 20mph speed limit or zone that centre around a school, it is imperative that investigations extend to the widest possible extent to provide a zone/speed limit that captures the maximum number of journeys over the greatest distance to encourage modal shift to active modes of transport such as walking and cycling.


4.5       As stated in ‘Department for Transport Circular 01/13 ‘Setting Local Speed Limits’, the Secretary of State has provided special authorisation for advisory part-time 20mph limit signs to be used. The possibility of including these signs in this policy was considered as part of the review however, it was deemed unsuitable as they can be confusing to drivers and therefore the County Council does not support their use on the network, which continues the previous policy position.      



STEP 1 – The County Council receives a 20mph request


5.1       Understanding the key issues and problems in an area is fundamental.  The applicant should clearly indicate the area of concern and set out the reasons/justification for the introduction of a 20mph speed limit or the extension of an existing 20mph speed limit.


5.2       Any evidence of road safety issues should be included in the request along with any other information that may be useful such as highlighting any schools or walking/cycling routes. Any application must have local support i.e. the parish/town council and local member must be supportive.


STEP 2 – Acknowledge receipt and consider application

5.3       Officers will acknowledge the correspondence and if necessary, ask for additional content to enable a response. Officers must be fully aware of the need for action and have enough information to be able to consider a decision.


STEP 3 – Carry out an initial desktop assessment

5.4       Taking into account the reasons stated in the application, officers will undertake an initial assessment based on guidance in Department for Transport Circular 01/2013 ‘Setting Local Speed Limits’ and links to NYCC policy supporting modal shift to active travel and consider how the proposal could deliver improvement to the area in terms of place and sense of community.


5.5       Officers will determine whether there is merit in a scheme or if the local issues can be resolved in another way(s) without reducing the 30mph speed limit. If inconsiderate parking or an isolated hazard causes the problem, a speed limit request is likely to be declined and another solution is likely to be suggested.


STEP 4 – Initial response

5.6       Officers will either, confirm 20mph is appropriate (based on guidance and pending further investigation) or explain why a reduction of the speed limit is not appropriate for the highway.


5.7       If the guidance in Circular 01/2013 is representative of the existing conditions, the process will move to the next stage. If the guidance demonstrates a reduced speed limit is not appropriate, the response will detail any other options that may be available to address the local concerns. This will be subject to funding being available and prioritisation.


5.8       If no further action is required, the reasons will be explained.


STEP 5 – Identify funding source

5.9       With limited funding and resources available, it is essential a funding source is identified, as no survey or design work for a 20mph speed limit can take place without a suitable budget being identified and available.


5.10     Staffing resources and costs should be considered, along with the costs associated with the implementation and future maintenance of traffic signs and road markings. Legal costs should also be calculated. Typically, a speed limit scheme (including legal costs) will cost in the region of £6000 to £10,000, but depending on the area of concern, the final cost could be greater.  The cost of implementing a zone could be significant given the wider area it would apply and the need for the construction of traffic calming measures.


STEP 6 - Carry out a detailed assessment including a speed survey

5.11     Any improvement scheme must be driven by evidence i.e. casualty reduction, but when assessing the suitability of a 20mph scheme, this is not the only driving factor. The County Council will be flexible and will consider a number of motivators. Schemes may be approved if local concerns are justified and they will be tailored to suit local needs.


5.12     The detailed assessment will take in to account the likelihood of increased active travel and potential improvements to ‘health and wellbeing’ and sense of place and community.




5.13     Officers will check the following criteria before any application is supported:

·                Links to NYCC policy for modal shift and active travel opportunities

·                The road is not a network hierarchy Category 2 road

·                The Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT) flow is not considered excessive for that route and not likely to increase significantly

·                There is a record of speed related personal injury collisions over the last 3 years or there will be a reduced likelihood of personal injury collisions

·                There are pedestrian and cyclist movements and more will be encouraged by the introduction of a 20mph speed limit

·                There are suitable characteristics and it is a suitable highway environment

·                There is a school or other community amenity on the road/in the area

·                A 7 day speed survey proves the existing mean (average) speeds are at or below 24mph for a speed limit to be introduced.

·                The change will result in good compliance without the reliance of police enforcement

·                Vulnerable road user concerns outweigh the disadvantages of longer journey times for motorised traffic

·                The intervention is likely to improve the quality of life for residents

·                The scheme is unlikely to attract negative feedback


5.14     The above criteria is not exhaustive and act as a guide of key considerations.  Other factors can be considered as appropriate for that site.  The quantification of some of the above criteria is subjective and therefore all decisions must be evidenced and recorded.


STEP 7 - Scheme design and cost estimate

5.15     Keeping street clutter to a minimum, officers will design an appropriate scheme over the agreed extent and within the available budget. The design and total cost will be shared with the applicant for feedback if the scheme is being externally funded in full or in part.


5.16     Communities should note that North Yorkshire Police are very unlikely to enforce a 20mph speed limit and that a signed only scheme (without physical measures) is likely to have little effect on existing vehicle speeds.


STEP 8 – Consult

5.17     If necessary, the scheme will be amended to suit local needs before there is a consultation exercise with North Yorkshire Police and other interested parties/stakeholders.


STEP 9 – Final Response

5.18     The applicant will be notified of the result of the consultation exercise and given an estimated timescale of the next stages.


STEP 10 – Advertisement of traffic regulation order (TRO)

5.19     TRO’s follow a statutory process and are a legal document.


5.20     The proposed reduced speed limit will be advertised in the local press and on site to invite views from the community. Representations can be formally lodged resulting in objections and contentious issues being considered before a scheme proceeds as advertised. Feedback could result in the scheme being modified or abandoned. The TRO process can take many months if there are objections to the scheme to resolve.



STEP 11 – Scheme implementation

5.21     The approved scheme will be ordered through North Yorkshire Highways as soon as practicable.


STEP 12 – Monitor effectiveness to ensure compliance

5.22     Officers will monitor the effectiveness of the speed limit change to ensure it is appropriate. Public opinion and speed survey results will ultimately determine the success of the scheme.  Officers will arrange a repeat of the surveys carried out in the assessment 12 months after implementation. Officers will engage with the local community afterwards to gather feedback and compare ‘before’ and ‘after’ mean speed values. The local community and North Yorkshire Police will informed of the recorded speeds.


5.23     If the recorded mean speed value is higher than anticipated and if it continues to be high after further surveys, additional measures to reduce speeds should be introduced to ensure good compliance. These measures should be financed from the original funding source.


5.24     Where mean speeds of historic 20mph speed limits are between 25 and 29mph, the addition of traffic calming measures should be a consideration. Traffic calming measures will reduce mean speeds and ensure greater compliance.


5.25     If there is evidence to suggest the majority of motorists are travelling in excess of 30mph in any 20mph speed limit, there is clearly a more significant problem to address. It is likely the speed limit is inappropriate for the environment and potentially unsafe due to differences how road users act and perceptions. If this is the case, the County Council must consider reverting back to the original speed limit.  Any increase to an urban speed limit is likely to be unpopular with local residents, but this has to be an option where a 20mph speed limit proves to be unsuitable.


School Level

No. of Schools

School Speed limit by No.























































School Level

% of Schools

School Speed limit by %age

























































Initial equality impact assessment screening form

(As of October 2015 this form replaces ‘Record of decision not to carry out an EIA’)


This form records an equality screening process to determine the relevance of equality to a proposal, and a decision whether or not a full EIA would be appropriate or proportionate.


Business and Environmental Services

Service area

Highways and Transportation

Proposal being screened

Revised 20mph speed limit and zone policy

Officer(s) carrying out screening

David Kirkpatrick

What are you proposing to do?

Seek approval for the revised 20mph speed limit and zone policy

Why are you proposing this? What are the desired outcomes?

Following a review of the existing policy by the Transport, Economy, Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the Executive approved nine recommendations were made to improve and update the existing policy.

Does the proposal involve a significant commitment or removal of resources? Please give details.




Impact on people with any of the following protected characteristics as defined by the Equality Act 2010, or NYCC’s additional agreed characteristic

As part of this assessment, please consider the following questions:

  • To what extent is this service used by particular groups of people with protected characteristics?
  • Does the proposal relate to functions that previous consultation has identified as important?
  • Do different groups have different needs or experiences in the area the proposal relates to?


If for any characteristic it is considered that there is likely to be a significant adverse impact or you have ticked ‘Don’t know/no info available’, then a full EIA should be carried out where this is proportionate. You are advised to speak to your Equality rep for advice if you are in any doubt.

Protected characteristic



Don’t know/No info available









Sex (Gender)








Sexual orientation




Gender reassignment




Religion or belief




Pregnancy or maternity




Marriage or civil partnership




NYCC additional characteristic

People in rural areas




People on a low income




Carer (unpaid family or friend)




Does the proposal relate to an area where there are known inequalities/probable impacts (e.g. disabled people’s access to public transport)? Please give details.





Will the proposal have a significant effect on how other organisations operate? (e.g. partners, funding criteria, etc.). Do any of these organisations support people with protected characteristics? Please explain why you have reached this conclusion.



Decision (Please tick one option)

EIA not relevant or proportionate:



Continue to full EIA:


Reason for decision


To approve the revised 20mph speed limit and zone policy

Signed (Assistant Director or equivalent)

Barrie Mason




17 December 2021


Climate change impact assessment                                                                                                                                                                                                           

The purpose of this assessment is to help us understand the likely impacts of our decisions on the environment of North Yorkshire and on our aspiration to achieve net carbon neutrality by 2030, or as close to that date as possible. The intention is to mitigate negative effects and identify projects which will have positive effects.

This document should be completed in consultation with the supporting guidance. The final document will be published as part of the decision making process and should be written in Plain English.


If you have any additional queries which are not covered by the guidance please email 

Please note: You may not need to undertake this assessment if your proposal will be subject to any of the following: 
 Planning Permission
 Environmental Impact Assessment
 Strategic Environmental Assessment
 However, you will still need to summarise your findings in in the summary section of the form below.
 Please contact for advice.







Title of proposal

Revised 20mph Speed Limit and Zone Policy

Brief description of proposal

To implement a new 20mph speed limit and zone policy that clarifies the context and decision making rationale and set out a definitive application and assessment process.




Service area

Traffic Engineering

Lead officer

David Kirkpatrick

Names and roles of other people involved in carrying out the impact assessment


Date impact assessment started




Options appraisal

Were any other options considered in trying to achieve the aim of this project? If so, please give brief details and explain why alternative options were not progressed.

The decision to revise the existing policy was brought about by the publication of the DfT study into the effectiveness of 20mph Speed Limits and Zones.  The TEE O&S review considered the findings of that report and explored the evidence to support change of the existing policy.  Whilst different strategic approaches were debated the evidence led to the recommendations as set out in the report and the proposed policy is set out in Appendix 1.

What impact will this proposal have on council budgets? Will it be cost neutral, have increased cost or reduce costs?


Please explain briefly why this will be the result, detailing estimated savings or costs where this is possible.


There is a potential impact on Council budgets through the potential for wider delivery of 20mph speed limits and zones in the future.  However, the costs of implementation would substantially be absorbed as part of annual capital funded highways and transportation programmes.






How will this proposal impact on the environment?

N.B. There may be short term negative impact and longer term positive impact. Please include all potential impacts over the lifetime of a project and provide an explanation.

Positive impact

(Place a X in the box below where relevant)

No impact

(Place a X in the box below where relevant)

Negative impact

(Place a X in the box below where relevant)

Explain why will it have this effect and over what timescale?


Where possible/relevant please include:

·      Changes over and above business as usual

·      Evidence or measurement of effect

·      Figures for CO2e

·      Links to relevant documents

Explain how you plan to mitigate any negative impacts.


Explain how you plan to improve any positive outcomes as far as possible.

Minimise greenhouse gas emissions e.g. reducing emissions from travel, increasing energy efficiencies etc.


Emissions from travel




Lower vehicle speeds can contribute to reduced emissions and air quality improvements.  However, this is not absolute and 20mph zones which require traffic calming measures are reliant on driver behaviour to achieve positive benefits.

Through intelligent design and applying the appropriate measure at the appropriate location


Emissions from construction




Potentially a negative impact due to the construction of traffic calming measures and use of concrete materials.  However, this is restricted to implementation only.  This could be negated in part by using recycled materials.



Emissions from running of buildings














Minimise waste: Reduce, reuse, recycle and compost e.g. reducing use of single use plastic




The establishment of 20mph speed limits and zones will have no impact on reducing waste



Reduce water consumption




The establishment of 20mph speed limits and zones will have no impact on reducing water consumption



Minimise pollution (including air, land, water, light and noise)





Lower speed limits can reduce air pollution through lower vehicle emmissions and also reduce noise.



Ensure resilience to the effects of climate change e.g. reducing flood risk, mitigating effects of drier, hotter summers




The potential for reduced emissions will contribute to the overall resilience to climate change.



Enhance conservation and wildlife








Safeguard the distinctive characteristics, features and special qualities of North Yorkshire’s landscape





Lower vehicle speeds, emissions and noise will have appositive effect on improving the highway and surrounding natural and built environments.




Other (please state below)













Are there any recognised good practice environmental standards in relation to this proposal? If so, please detail how this proposal meets those standards.




In summary, the provision of 20mph speed limits and zones should have an overall positive effect on road user safety, air quality and reduced impact on the natural and built environment in the county.

However, as previously mentioned, where 20mph zones are implemented that include systems of traffic calming, there is a reliance on drivers travelling at a consistent speed rather than speeding up and slowing down between measures, which can negate any positive benefit in terms of emission and noise.


Sign off section

This climate change impact assessment was completed by:


David Kirkpatrick

Job title

Traffic Engineering Team Leader

Service area

Traffic Engineering





Completion date



Authorised by relevant Assistant Director (signature): Barrie Mason


Date: 17/12/21