Driving laws will target 'sinister' and 'overzealous' 15-minute cities and 20mph speed limits

A 20mph speed limit sign and Mark Harper

Mark Harper pledged to crack down on anti-motorist schemes

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 02/10/2023

- 12:20

Updated: 02/10/2023

- 12:21

Measures are already underway to help motorists and block schemes which could affect people using their cars

The Government is pledging to crack down on highly controversial motoring schemes like 15-minute cities and 20mph speed limits to protect drivers.

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference, Transport Secretary Mark Harper commented on the recent introduction of schemes like new 20mph speed limits in Wales.

He said measures like speed limits and moving traffic fines were being used to punish drivers and raise money for councils and Governments.

The Government had pledged to make a number of sweeping changes to protect drivers from these kinds of fines and other pieces of legislation designed to target motorists.

WATCH NOW: Sam Rowlands MS discusses new 20mph speed limits

He said: “Right across our country, there is a Labour-backed movement to make cars harder to use, to make driving more expensive and to remove your freedom to get from A to B how you want.

“Conference, it is time for Conservatives to act and today I am proud to announce a comprehensive plan to back drivers.

“First of all, I am calling time on the misuse of so-called ‘15-minute cities’.”

These schemes are seen across the world, especially in major European cities, with the aim of having essential amenities within 15 minutes of someone walking, cycling or using public transport.

The Government has previously slammed the introduction of such schemes, saying they were being used to “aggressively restrict where people can drive”.

Mark Harper continued, saying: “Now there’s nothing wrong with making sure people can walk or cycle to the shops or school. That’s traditional town planning.

“But what is different, what is sinister and what we shouldn’t tolerate is the idea that local councils can decide how often you go to the shops and that they ration who uses the roads and when and they police it all with CCTV.

“So today I am announcing that the Government will investigate what options we have in our toolbox to restrict overzealous use of traffic management measures including cutting off councils from the DVLA database if they don’t follow the rules.”

The Transport Secretary also mentioned the ongoing review of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods with the aim of making sure no Government money is used to fund the schemes.

He announced that guidance would be changed to ensure councils properly listen to local residents and don’t impose them without consent.

Mark Harper also slammed the new 20mph speed limits, saying some councils and countries were using them to "punish drivers as blanket measures".

The MP for the Forest of Dean said: “The evidence is clear. This makes little difference, may actually increase pollution and risks motorists ignoring 20mph zones where they are needed.

“We will change Department for Transport guidance requiring councils to only use 20mph zones where there is a good reason and underlining that 30mph is the default speed limit on urban roads.”

Other Government plans include making it easier for motorists to pay for parking by using one centralised app.


A low traffic neighbourhood

The Government said the review into low traffic neighbourhoods was ongoing


Major changes will also be made to ensure roads are safe for everyone, with the Government aiming to charge utility companies extra if street works take longer than expected, using the money raised to maintain roads.

You may like