20mph speed limits

Please read our information on how we are supporting residents and businesses, as well as information on affected services.

We are reviewing how we deliver 20mph on more roads across Cornwall. We will review roads which currently have a 30mph speed limit. An early phase of delivery is happening in 2022. The results of this will inform future phases. Agreement to deliver 20mph across Cornwall requires Cabinet approval. Work to develop the programme will now get underway.

This page will be updated on a regular basis. Please see information below on current progress. Information provided will help to answer your queries.

Phase 1 20mph Rollout

Phase 1 of area wide 20mph application will be in Camelford and Falmouth and Penryn.  We will review all existing 30mph speed limits, with the plan for these to be 20mph.  We selected these community network areas for many reasons.  This includes (but not limited to):

  • Deliverability within required timescales
  • Building on existing or advancing 20mph provision, closing gaps
  • Mix of built up areas, towns and rural villages, providing optimal monitoring opportunities
  • Synergy with other investment

The following areas have 30mph speed limits and form part of phase 1:

  • Camelford, St Breward, St Teath, Delabole, Tintagel Forrabury and Minster, Warbstow, Tresmeer, St Juliot and Otterham
  • Falmouth, Penryn, Perranarworthal, Budock, Mawnan and Mabe
  • Mylor/Flushing, Ponsanooth and Constantine largely covered by 20mph, remaining areas will be reviewed

Other Committed 20mph Schemes

Through the Community Network Highway Scheme the following schemes are still advancing:

Community Network Area Parish Scheme detail Scheme stage
China Clay St Enoder School Road/Summercourt School variable 20mph limit Detailed design
Cornwall Gateway Botus Fleming Vollards Lane Hatt - introduce 20mph speed limit and traffic calming Programming
Cornwall Gateway Saltash Old Ferry Road Tamar Street 20mph Traffic Regulation Order extension and traffic calming Programming
Cornwall Gatetway Saltash Barkers Hill and Burraton Coombe, Saltash 20mph speed limit Preliminary Design
Falmouth & Penryn Mylor Flushing 20mph speed limit Preliminary Design
Hayle & St Ives Hayle Phillack, Hayle 20mph speed limit Preliminary Design
Helston & South Kerrier Sithney Crowntown Sithney 20mph extension and footway widening Preliminary Design
Launceston South Petherwin Part-time advisory with traffic calming at South Petherwin School Preliminary Design
Liskeard & Looe St Neot St Neot School 20mph speed limit Construction
St Blazey, Fowey and Lostwithiel Tywardreath & Par Tywardreath 20mph speed limit Preliminary Design
Truro and the Roseland St Erme St Erme 20mph speed limit Consultation
West Penwith Marazion Goldolphin Arms West End Marazion 20mph speed limit Preliminary Design
West Penwith St Levan The Valley Portcurno waiting restrictions and 20mph zone Preliminary Design

Future Phases

We appreciate the disappointment for areas not in phase 1. Please know that every area in Cornwall is important to us. Work is continuing to develop what a countywide programme will look like and reflect on:

  • Impact of phase 1, considering tweaks for future phases
  • Lessons learned
  • Timescale and cost for implementation

A countywide 20mph default approach requires Cabinet approval.  We aim to take recommendations to Cabinet by the end of 2022.

It is not possible to answer questions about what areas will come forward next or in what order. Your understanding during this time is appreciated.  General enquiries can be emailed to connectingcornwall@cornwall.gov.uk       

Where 20mph might not be introduced

The 6th United Nations Global Road Safety Week (May 2021) called for policymakers to use low speed streets worldwide. This involves limiting speeds to 20mph where people walk, live and play. The benefits being that streets would be safer, healthy, green and liveable.

We are reviewing all roads with 30mph with the intention to reduce to 20mph.  Urban areas with high pedestrian and cyclist movements will be higher priority. This could include areas around schools, shops, markets, playgrounds.

For some roads, it may be appropriate to retain 30mph or deliver a more focused 20mph section. This will be a considered decision, based on local circumstances. Exceptions will generally be major roads and where vehicles are the primary function.

An exceptions process is being developed to help support this process.

Police Enforcement

Devon & Cornwall Police can and will enforce 20mph speed limits. This will be targeted based on evidence. We must not rely on legal enforcement as the only means to drive compliance. Road safety is something all road users have responsibility for. Road user respect and driver behaviour is crucial.

Cornwall Council will work with the Police during delivery of phase 1 and beyond. Enforcement will be deployed for consistent high levels of non-compliance and risk to health (injury).

Whether you live in a 20mph or travel through 20mph, we ask you to respect those limits in place.

Community Support

There are many ways that communities can help to be the local eyes on the ground through initiatives such as:

  • Community Speedwatch - this site tells more about the scheme and how to get involved
  • Op Snap - you can provide photographic or video evidence of driving incidents on this website    

Communications and Engagement Strategy

We will develop a comprehensive engagement and communications plan to support this work. This will communicate the negative impacts of speeding in residential areas.  This will set out the scheme’s rationale, objectives and outcomes. Local acceptance and behaviour change is the key.

Communities can support us spreading important messages through local newsletters or social media. Community support has proven integral to the successful implementation of 20mph sites elsewhere.

A good community support network will change behaviours and attitudes towards traffic speeds. This will increase the likelihood limits become self-enforcing. This means minimal police intervention or the installation of physical engineering measures.

Local communities can help enforce low-level speed breaches through campaigns. This ensures the longevity of a successful scheme and increased speed compliance.

Statutory Consultation

Statutory consultation will take place during phase 1. Wider communication and engagement will continue. This will be for the remaining community network areas to have 20mph as the default if approved.  Continuous messages to reinforce 'slower is safer' is important.  Over time this will help greater understanding and compliance.

Case for 20mph across Cornwall

Research provides a case for introducing 20mph limits. There is a strong link between traffic speed and the number of collisions and severity of injuries. Chances of survival struck at 20mph are much greater than 30mph.

Residential roads and built-up areas should be 20mph. 20mph provide many road safety, social and environmental benefits. Slower speeds help to promote liveable streets and encourage active travel.  This will support Cornwall’s ambition to be carbon neutral by 2030. Benefits to our customers and communities include:

  • Making our streets safer. This will reduce casualties and community inequality
  • Increasing child and adult activity levels. This will improve health and wellbeing
  • Providing a safe environment. This will encourage more people to walk and cycle
  • Supporting climate change declaration. This will include lower emissions and tackling congestion
  • Creating a stronger sense of place

The most effective way to improve pedestrian safety is to reduce the speed of vehicles.  This is according to The World Health Organisation.  Between 2015-2019, speed was a contributory factor in 992 collisions in Cornwall. This resulted in 1529 casualties (all severities). Sadly, this involved 36 fatalities of which 4 were pedestrians 2 of these within a 30mph limit. A further 264 resulted in serious injuries. This involved 7 pedestrians, all within 30mph and 11 cyclists, of which 8 were in a 30mph limit.

Traffic Calming

We will not be applying traditional traffic calming. This is due to the significant levels of funding this would need. Phase 1 will trial legal signage with low cost gateway features, where required. Transition into a community needs to be clear to drivers.

We need communities to work with us through initiatives such as:

  • Community speed watch
  • Op snap
  • Deployment of mobile speed signs

We will also develop a sophisticated Cornwall wide marketing strategy. This will deliver the message  ‘slower is safer’.

Impact on Congestion and Air Quality

We do not believe that a 20mph speed limit will increase congestion or vehicles driving on the road. In fact, traffic may flow more steadily. Making communities safer to walk or cycle may reduce vehicle journeys .

There is little evidence to suggest that reducing vehicle speeds to 20mph makes any difference to pollution. It is not as straightforward as more time driving equals more pollution. Driving styles, acceleration, braking are all factors. The following also when combined can affect how level of pollution:

  • vehicle condition
  • distance travelled
  • engine temperature

Lower Speeds Benefit Walking and Cycling

Villages, towns and cities should be places where people are free to travel in ways that are:

  • safe
  • sustainable
  • healthy
  • fair

Inappropriate speed limits make movement dangerous where people live, work and play. This particularly affects vulnerable road users , including children and the elderly.

Lower speeds mean people feel more comfortable to walk and cycle and it is safer for children to walk to school. Older people also feel more able to travel safely. Vehicle speeds are a reason why people do not walk or cycle or do not allow their children to walk or cycle to school.

Data Collection

We will track accident data, traffic speed and volumes. We will also review air quality where applicable.  Other data aspects could include:

  • Surveys of school children and parents. To see if the 20mph has made any difference to their travel to and from school, and their social activities
  • Working with Parish and Town Councils to get qualitative information. This will be the positive or negative impacts communities have experienced.

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