Speed limits, control and community speed watch
The signed speed limits on the county road network account for one of the greatest causes for public complaint. When requests are received for amendments to speed limits we work with Northamptonshire Police to undertake a formal review. This involves a panel of relevant officers, chaired by the Road Safety Manager, and includes:
- the Highways Community Liaison Officer for the area in question
- the Principal Highways Engineering Officer
- safety engineers
- road safety practitioners
- the Safer Roads Team Leader for Northamptonshire Police
The Panel is therefore able to provide a consensus across organisations.
We are mindful that determining an appropriate speed limit is not an exact science and can often divide opinion, particularly when the road characteristics and environment change rapidly over relatively short distances.
During monthly meetings, the Panel takes an evidence-led approach and evaluates all the available speed, volume and collision data, supporting information, environmental impacts and road characteristics.
The Panel will have visited the identified locations prior to the meeting in order to experience, first-hand, the current restriction in place so as to form an opinion regarding any proposed amendment.
The Panel takes into account a range of other factors, which include, but are not limited to:
- criteria and guidance ‘Setting Local Speed Limits’ developed by the Department for Transport (DfT)
- National Police Chiefs Council speed enforcement policy guidelines
- what are the realistic prospects of compliance
- it should be obvious to a careful and competent motorist why a speed limit is in place and should reflect the function of the road, geometry and environment
- a speed limit should seek to reinforce people’s assessment of what is a safe speed to travel to encourage self-compliance
- the potential for reducing collisions and casualties in areas with a known history
- any use of traffic calming features must be proportional, aesthetically acceptable and supported by the emergency services
- there should be no expectation of the police to provide additional enforcement beyond their routine activity
It should be noted that this speed assessment process does not imply that speed limits will automatically be reduced. Indeed, in some cases, the assessment may suggest that the existing speed limit may already be inappropriately set too low, and an increased limit could be considered.
For further advice regarding a speed limit review please email the Highways Community Liaison Officer at [email protected].
Last updated 13 December 2023