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Manchester considering city-wide 20mph speed limit

Public to be consulted on plans to reduce speed limits on non-major residential roads

Published on March 16th 2012.

Manchester considering city-wide 20mph speed limit

DRIVERS could be forced to slow down in an effort to reduce the number of casualties on the roads of Manchester.

The council is considering a city-wide speed limit of 20mph on residential roads, excluding major routes, at a cost of up to £41million.

This has been popular with schools and parents, and has proved successful in reducing accidents in Manchester as well as in other towns and cities across the country

The measures would affect all C and U class roads, which make up more than four fifths of the city’s streets and cover over 1200km. Larger roads will be unaffected.

A council report presented to the Executive claims the new speed limit will ‘contribute to a reduction in the number of casualties’ on the roads and provide a ‘higher quality of life, stronger communities, and encouragement of healthier, greener travel such as by walking and cycling and boosting the green economy’.

Cllr Paul Andrews, Manchester City Council’s executive member for neighbourhood services, said: “We already have locations across the city where motorists are required to drive at 20 miles per hour, to protect children and other pedestrians as well as cyclists.

“This has been popular with schools and parents, and has proved successful in reducing accidents in Manchester as well as in other towns and cities across the country.

According to the report, in 2010 there were 1425 traffic accidents in Manchester, resulting in 1962 casualties. Of those people, 166 were killed or seriously injured. Just 2.4% of these serious casualties occurred in 20mph areas, despite them accounting for 16% of Manchester’s roads.

It also cites evidence that lower speed limits will encourage more people to walk or cycle, resulting in environmental and public health benefits.

But is this really the case?

While a 10% increase in walking and cycling was noted in Bristol, the council fails to recognise the potential impact of the Cycling City and Active Bristol projects in that respect.

The council will now conduct further analysis with a view to opening the matter up for public consultation in the future.

It must also decide whether to implement 20mph ‘limits’ or ‘zones’. A 20mph zone includes physical measures for slowing vehicles - such as speed bumps - and is the most effective traffic calming measure but costs significantly more as a result.

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31 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

paulMarch 16th 2012.

Its OK sticking up signs like they have done on my street but there are also zigzags for he school that nobody pays attention to so why not enforce the laws we have before making more to be ignored we pay the council to stick up signs and paint lines and pay the police not to enforce them

AnonymousMarch 17th 2012.

"..at a cost of up to £41million." FFS, no!
What is with this council?

The outrageous behaviour over the congestion charge plans, the parking fees increases and then the hours increases on the parking are all part of why I now go out to the Trafford centre rather than driving into Manchester. They are killing the city with this stupid bleedin' war on motorists.

And don't get me started on cyclists in Manchester. They are a menace. Not one of them seems to understand a red traffic light and, when on foot trying to cross roads like Princess Street (where they get a downhill bit), they are like missiles headed at you.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
MancAdam85March 17th 2012.

Couldn't agree more with you.

AnonymousMarch 20th 2012.

Here here. Or is it hear hear?

SteMarch 17th 2012.

First, try making kids attend their *nearest* school, so they can walk there, then; actually enforcing and extending the 'no stopping' zones outside schools into the 'no parking' zones that certain people use as drop-off parking: staying there just long enough to avoid a ticket.

MancAdam85March 17th 2012.

In theory this sounds like a good enough idea, but...

The council can ill-afford to spend £41,000,000.00 on anything right now, let alone something which - let's face it - isn't essential.

Personal responsibility - how about one looks before one wonders onto the road instead of blaming motorists.

Couldn't agree more with the guy above who said that cyclists - especially in the city are a menace. Many ignore red traffic lights, even when the green man is on -and then look at the pedestrian like they're at fault.

Sounds to me like a lot of bus- bodying public sector types trying to justify their salaries.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 15th 2014.

The rabid frothing-at-the-mouth extremist motorist lobby are out in force I see.

AnonymousMarch 18th 2012.

Fully support this. Streets designed around people rather than cars should make Manchester a healthier, safer, and much more pleasant place to live. Stronger communities should also emerge if people interact more as a result of increased rates of walking, cycling and kids playing outdoors. In turn, more private sector investment in Manchester may result. It's important that the council remains focused on strategically creating the conditions for long-term growth and success in the city and doesn't retreat to a position of simply fire-fighting the effects of the economic downturn and disproportionate budget cuts enforced upon the region by the Coalition Government.

Isabella JacksonMarch 18th 2012.

First; streets were designed for cars (or horse-drawn carriages), not people. Secondly, it's all very well wishing for a forgotten community where people walk and cycle and children play outdoors. Most people are fundamentally lazy nowadays; they hop in their cars for a journey of less than half a mile and then moan about how much it costs to own/run a car. They like their own bubble where they can talk utter shite on their mobile 'phones or listen to their ipod (likely the reason car-pooling is a complete non-starter in this country). Furthermore, children are no longer made aware of the dangers of traffic and crossing the road - I'm old enough to remember a giant-sized squirrel teaching me the basics. They are so over-cosseted by their paranoid parents, they develop no sense of danger. Parents ferry their kids to the school up the road every day with the excuse that there is too much traffic for them to walk - ironically oblivious to the fact that too much traffic generally occurs during the school run. I have recently started to cycle back and from work. At first it was a shock to the system but now I rather enjoy it. It wakes me up at 7am in the morning and blows away the cobwebs after a day at work; it saves on petrol and parking costs. That said, I am a car-owner and I love my car. Cycling and car-driving don't have to be mutually exclusive. Rant over, back to the footie.

AnonymousMarch 18th 2012.

A thoroughly stupid and pointless idea. It's £41 million that the council cannot afford (unless it sacks more social workers, library staff and dinnerladies), and won't be enforced. According to the government's own figures, speed is a contributory factor in less than 3% of accidents. Alcohol and mobile phone use cause more accidents, yet little/nothing is done about that.
Bury introduced this on minor roads in a large residential area, and people simply ignored it, and the police answered that they didn't have the resources to support it, as their traffic divisions focus on MAJOR roads.
So, introducing a 20mph speed limit on minor roads will achieve nothing other than cost the taxpayer (ie you and me) yet more money.

AnonymousMarch 18th 2012.

I thought a recent study showed 20mph limits aren't on average respected by drivers if they are applied to a wide area. They need to be targeted so drivers understand why they are there and agree with them.
Im already the only person who seems to respect 30/40 zones, including police cars, so why spend money on this when we don't inforce the rules we already have?

AnonymousMarch 19th 2012.

As mancon knows the £41m scheme is the top of the range all singing and all dancing proposal. There are two much cheaper ways to implement the scheme (I cant remember the numbers but about £4m?). I'm not saying thats a small amount of cash but it is significantly smaller and more affordable than mancon has led its readers to belive.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldMarch 19th 2012.

I'll have a word with the journalist as I didn't know that. And we should be balanced.

Smyth Harper, Manchester City CouncilMarch 19th 2012.

Hi Jonathan. Your anonymous correspondent is quite correct, and your reporter perhaps should receive a gentle rap on the knuckles. The minimum cost is £2.8m, maximum £42m and middle way £9.2m. We reckon it could save dozens of lives a year. And we would be looking for central government help.

For more info, the report (which is actually a decent read) is available at

It's item six. Our sparkling news release is also available at


Smyth Harper
Head of News
Manchester City Council

Smyth Harper, Manchester City CouncilMarch 19th 2012.

Sorry I meant max cost of £41m. Stumpy fingers and tiny smart phone keys

AnonymousAugust 15th 2014.

Who is the journalist responsible for this? The article is not attributed to anyone. Why?

SquirrelitoMarch 19th 2012.

seeing as the journalist states "upto £41m", the balance is there, no?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 20th 2012.

No it isnt, thats just a clever phrase to make something sound more sensational than it is and to hide the lower cost from the reader.

The really silly thing though was hiding the lower cost from the editor...

Calum McGMarch 20th 2012.

The Council press release cunningly says 'The City Council expects the scheme to cost at least £2.8m' but sadly fails to say what it MIGHT cost up to. Nice spin! :S

AnonymousMarch 20th 2012.

seems most of your readers have a lot in common with Jeremy Clarkson?

funboi123March 20th 2012.

To be honest, the knock on effect that the Deansgate ridicule of road thinning is currently having, the 20mph is already happening.

Can somebody explain how & when the voting stuff works, to get this bunch of anti-motorist councillors out? When will they stop spending our money on punishing the motorist?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 20th 2012.

What, exactly, is a "ridicule of road thinning"? Is this what happens when one tries to articulate a point of a view when one's mouth is frothing or one's thinking is obscured with red mist?

AnonymousMarch 20th 2012.

£41m for what? now where will that money come from? erm...... taxes from people struggling to cope with everything at the moment, the elderly care services that has left them with no care and dignity, the businesses that are struggle to survive? or is it all to punish the motorist again and again and again.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousMarch 20th 2012.

Yes, how appalling that money should be spent trying to save lives.

AnonymousMarch 20th 2012.

Give us a break MANCHESTER........

Calum McGMarch 20th 2012.

Spend £41m on something useful, like making the Metrolink network better :P (granted, £41m won't go far, but I'd rather spend it on the trams than 20mph???). Nice one, MCC.

Alan WardMarch 20th 2012.

No more speed humps please. You need a lower gear, increase engine revs, causing more pollution and increased fuel consumption. And do they really stop injuries - trade that off with frustration.
20mph near schools no problem - but only during schools hours/term time please.

1 Response: Reply To This...
SmittyMarch 21st 2012.

But you're much, much less likely to kill someone when you hit them. And if you drive properly there's no increased pollution at all. Driving over a hump at, say, 15mph uses a lot less fuel than than pissing along a residential road at 40mph in your 4x4.

AnonymousMarch 25th 2012.

And you're much less likely to kill someone if they don't step out in the road in front of you.

I'm sure it would cost a lot less to roll out a traffic awareness program to schools.

1 Response: Reply To This...
gimboidMarch 25th 2012.

From the school of thought that blames rape victims for dressing provocatively.

GeorginabellAugust 15th 2014.

It would save EVERYONE money (including council staff who ALSO pay tax!!!!!!!!!!) if people drove safely but they do NOT!!! So really, who's wasting who's money?! I'm sure all councils would rather have more staff in vital areas like police and social work / social care but instead they have to deal with this because EVERYONE even those who think they're good drivers are in actual fact not safe at all!

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