Speed Limits and Complaints

20mph limit sign

Speed limits policy

Suffolk Council Council’s Cabinet agreed to a new policy on speed limits in December 2014.  This policy has been developed to consider whether changes to existing speed limits are appropriate or not and give guidance on speed limits for any new roads. It has been developed following engagement of key stakeholders by the Roads and Transport Policy Development Panel which is a cross party group of Councillors and will be kept under review.

There is a separate policy for 20mph limits and this policy covers all other limits. The policy does not consider directly issues of enforcement, publicity, engineering/ environmental measures or other measures to improve compliance.

The Council deals with requests to change speed limits from Parish, Town, Borough or District Councils.  Individuals requesting changes to a speed limit, should seek support from the above before submitting a request.

A number of factors need to be taken into account before changing a limit, such as the nature of the road, impact on local residents, activity on the side of the road, collision history, cost of implementation, traffic delays, impact on vulnerable road users, the environment and public anxiety. The view of the Police will also be sought before changes are made.  The legal process to change a limit can take approximately nine months.

For more information, please contact suffolkroadsafe@suffolk.gov.uk

20mph speed limits

The Council has agreed unless in exceptional circumstances, locations will not be considered for 20mph schemes where any of the following apply:

  • They are on A or B class roads
  • Have existing mean speeds above 30 mph
  • There is no significant community support as assessed by the local County Councillor.

In assessing community support, Councillors should review the views of District, Town and Parish Councils and give weight to petitions and local residents’ views.

Locations will then only be considered for 20 mph limits or zones if two out of three of the following criteria are met:

  • Current mean speeds are at or below 24 mph
  • There is a depth of residential development and evidence of pedestrian and cyclist movements within the area
  • There is a record of injury accidents (based on police accident data) within the area within the last five years

Locations within conservation areas and other areas of high visual amenity will not normally be considered suitable for sign only 20mph limits unless there will be minimal adverse visual impact. In these areas any 20mph restrictions will normally be through 20mph zones. For more information, please contact suffolkroadsafe@suffolk.gov.uk

Other speed limit requests

The Council set up a Policy Development Panel in Spring 2014 to report on speed limits. The Panel will be carrying out site visits and examining key witnesses before preparing a full report for Cabinet later this year.

How the police manage speeding complaints

Complaints about speeding may arise from the community, elected representatives, parish councils and Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

The Police will respond by using of Speed Data Recorders (SDR) to provide an evidence base for operational activity. In other words, it provides tangible data to either prove or disprove that speeding is of concern.

If there is a measurable concern the approach will be encourage the development of Community Speedwatch to empower local communities to be involved in speed reduction.  If community activity highlights high levels of non-compliance then this may lead to enforcement.

Community complaints are dealt with in a number of ways utilising local police officers trained in the use of the speed enforcement device.

Specialist roads policing officers will provide advice and support where appropriate. Specialist officers are tasked on a daily basis to patrol specific areas at key times. Proactive speed enforcement using speed detection devices will only take place during these tasks if those areas are also on the sanctioned enforcement lists. However, officers may very well have to deal with any driver they witness speeding as part of this targeted patrol.

Additionally, both local officers and specialist roads policing officers will target specific towns and villages in areas determined through the speed detection deployment plan.  The operation that will target not only the ‘fatal four’ (speeding, drink driving, mobile phone use and not wearing a seatbelt) but will also address community concerns relating to anti-social driver or rider behaviour, including cyclists riding on pavements or noise nuisance from stationary vehicles.

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