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Please note the 20mph application window opens on 15 January 2024 and closes on Friday 15 March 2024 at 5pm

Cambridgeshire County Council have created an annual 20mph funding programme to install either 20mph zones or limits countywide.

The programme will open for applications annually. Anyone can apply if they have the support of their local County Council member. Once an application has been submitted it will be prioritised and scored by officers. This will produce a long list which will then be worked through until all the schemes applied for have been delivered.

The prioritised schemes will be entirely funded by the council out of a budget of £150,000 per year specifically set aside for 20mph schemes. This is expected to fund the delivery of around eight individual schemes per year.

The 20mph restrictions will:

  • make streets safer by reducing speeds and enabling a more equitable use of the road space for all users (vulnerable road users, sustainable transport, businesses, and car users)
  • encourage residents to walk or cycle by reducing speeds
  • reduce noise and pollution by amending the way vehicles accelerate/decelerate

The initiative will not be compulsory (but the greater level of coverage we attain across the county the greater level of compliance we will gain) and needs to be supported by the parish/town council and by the local county councillor.

In general, a new 20mph limit should be in an area with features that justify a lower speed limit to drivers, for example, an area that has:

  • evidence of traffic incidents or potential dangers within an existing 30/40mph
  • vulnerable road users e.g. pedestrians (of all ability), cyclists, equestrian users and motorcyclists
  • visible homes, shops, and business frontages
  • a school or a school route
  • a cycling route
  • a quiet lane designation
  • an area that would benefit from more active travel such as cycling and walking

The anticipated benefits

Research by the UK Transport Research Laboratory has shown that every 1mph reduction in average urban speeds can result in a six percent fall in the number of casualties. It’s also been shown that you are seven times more likely to survive if you are hit by a car driving at 20mph, than if you are hit at 30mph. If a child suddenly steps in front of a car, you are much less likely to seriously injure or kill them if you keep to a 20mph limit.

Research indicates that people are much more likely to walk or cycle when vehicle speeds are lower as they feel safer. The installation of 20mph zones or limits, especially in urbanised areas is expected to have positive impacts on the amount of people walking, cycling or horse riding. This has additional benefits to the environment as well as lowering the speed limit could encourage more people to use non-motorised means for shorter journeys such as walking to school or visiting the shop.

Research shows that slower speeds encourage a smoother driving style with less stopping and starting which helps traffic to flow. Evidence from other areas shows that slower speeds encourage more people to walk and cycle.

Driving at 20mph causes some vehicular emissions to rise slightly (mainly Heavy Goods Vehicles) and some (car) to fall. Reduced acceleration and braking will help to reduce fuel consumption and the associated particulate emissions from items such as tyres and brakes.

Research in other cities, suggests that journey times do not significantly increase. Where proposals are requested on a bus route the authority will work with the bus companies to assess the likely impact on bus journey times to enable a balanced approach to be taken.

How motorists will know they are in a 20mph area

Signs and lines will be installed in line with the relevant traffic and road safety traffic signs manuals.

We will inform residents of the speed reduction to make them aware of the change via their local press and parish.

20 mph road markings

20mph Road Markings will be placed at entrances and exit points, or as required within the scheme

20 mph terminal sign

20mph Terminal Signs to mark where the entrance and exit of the 20mph speed limit changes are

20 mph Repeater Sign

20mph smaller Repeater sign within the area to remind you of the speed limit. (At a maximum distance of 200m apart)

The new 20mph zone or limit will rely primarily on signs and road markings. Due consideration will be taken in conservation areas and around historic buildings.

Existing flashing speed signs will be changed to show a 20mph version if possible. Unfortunately, due to the age of some flashing speed signs they will have to be disconnected and removed.

In areas where there are existing school time amber flashing signs, with advisory 20mph speed limits, once the new 20mph zone or limit has been installed these will also be removed as the new 20mph limit will be in force all the time.

If further measures are needed to maintain lower vehicle speeds Town and Parish councils would be expected to part fund these extra mitigation measures through our Local Highway Improvement process.

Next Steps


Visit our 20mph funding Programme page to check the progress of the current programme of projects being delivered across Cambridgeshire