Report to:

Lead Member for Transport & Environment


Date of meeting:


22 November 2021


Director of Communities, Economy and Transport



40mph speed limit extension on the A2100 London Road, Battle


To consider a petition for an extended 40mph speed limit on the A2100 London Road, Battle.



Recommendation: The Lead Member is recommended to advise the petitioners that:

(1)  An extension of the 40mph speed limit on the A2100 London Road beyond that agreed for the Lillybank development is not a priority for investigation by the County Council at the present time.


1       Background Information

1.1       At the County Council meeting on 23 July 2021, a petition was presented to the Chairman by Councillor Kathryn Field on behalf of residents concerned about road safety on the A2100 London Road, Battle requesting “that when the 40mph speed limit is extended to protect the new Lillybank Development, it be extended to a suitable location north of the Canadia Road turning to help protect vulnerable residents from the excessive speeding frequently endangering lives”. A plan indicating the extent of the proposed speed limit extension and that requested by the petitioners is attached as Appendix A.

1.2       A copy of the petition is available in the Members’ Room. Standing Orders provide that where the Chairman considers it appropriate, petitions are considered by the relevant Committee or Lead Member and a spokesperson for the petitioners is invited to address the Committee. The Chairman has referred this petition to the Lead Member for Transport and Environment.


1.3      The Lillybank Farm development (Millbank Homes, planning application reference RR/2016/725/P) was approved with a Section 106 legal agreement in May 2017. Part of this agreement required an extension to the existing 40mph speed limit on London Road to the north of the proposed access to the development. This measure was, and still is, required to make the access to this development acceptable in highway standards terms.


1.4       A Traffic Regulation Order to implement this 40mph extension was made by the County Council in 2018. However, the construction of the Lillybank Farm development was subsequently paused, it was therefore not necessary to implement the Traffic Regulation Order from 2018 and extend the 40mph speed limit.


1.5       Millwood Homes are now planning to construct the Lillybank housing development and there is a need to implement the 40mph speed limit extension. A new Traffic Regulation Order process will be progressed as the permitted two-year implementation period has been exceeded. The public advertisement stage of the new order is planned for late November 2021.


1.6       When the proposed extension of 177 metres to the 40mph speed limit was advertised as part of the previous Traffic Regulation Order process, there was an objection in that the proposal did not go far enough and should be extended northwards to protect the properties on this section of the A2100 London Road. The objection was reported to the Planning Committee on 25 July 2018, but it was not upheld, and the decision made to proceed with the proposal as advertised. A copy of the Planning Committee Report is attached as Appendix B.

2. Supporting Information

2.1      The introduction of speed limits is a very emotive subject, with many people believing a lower limit will automatically slow traffic down. However, it is recognised nationally that most drivers travel at the speed they consider to be safe for the conditions of the road, based on their assessment of the local environment. There are several factors that are taken into consideration when assessing a length of road for a speed limit, with the predominant factors being the number of properties that are clearly visible to a driver and the average speed of traffic using the road.


2.2      A driver can see a need for a lower speed limit on roads having a high level of visible frontage development along its length. If a road has sporadic development set back and/or screened by vegetation, they will not be able to identify with the lower limit. If the 40mph speed limit was extended to a point beyond the Canadia Road junction, this would extend it by at least 600 metres from the proposed position of the limit agreed for the Lillybank development. As this section of road has very limited development, set back from the road, mostly screened by vegetation and not clearly visible to a motorist, the reasons for the speed limit would not be obvious to a driver. A copy of our approved speed limit policy is attached as Appendix C.


2.3       The research that has been carried out nationally indicates that speed limits that are introduced with signs and lines alone only reduce the average speed of traffic by about 1mph to 2mph and then only when it appears obvious to the driver why the limit has been imposed. Setting a speed limit that is significantly below the speed that most drivers consider appropriate only leads to them being widely ignored. This produces a large margin between the slowest and fastest vehicles which is recognised as a significant contributor to crashes. This can only be addressed with significant engineering measures.


2.4       To assess if a lower speed limit was appropriate, and whether extensive engineering measures would be needed, would require a full investigation and consultation process to be undertaken.


2.5       We presently have very limited resources available for road safety, including the investigation of lower speed limits. The funding that we do have for assessing appropriate speed limits and any associated engineering measures is from a wider road safety project that is targeted at locations that offer the most benefit in terms of their contribution towards casualty reduction.  This stretch of the A2100 London Road currently has an excellent safety record with no recorded personal injury crashes in the most recent three-year period (up to 31/08/2021) between Virgins Lane and the end of the footway to the north of Canadia Road.


2.6       Whilst the investigation of a lower speed limit on this section of the A2100 is not a priority for the Road Safety Team, an application through the Community Match Initiative could be considered. It is therefore suggested that the residents contact Battle Town Council to see whether they would support an investigation into the feasibility of a lower speed limit. Details of the Community Match Initiative and the costs associated with a feasibility study and speed surveys can be provided if required.



3     Conclusion and Reasons for Recommendations

3.1       An extension of the 40mph speed limit on the A2100 London Road beyond that which has been agreed for the Lillybank development is not a priority for further investigation by the County Council at the present time due to its lack of visible frontage development and excellent safety record.



Director of Communities, Economy and Transport

Contact Officer: Helen Pain
Tel. No. 0345 6080193



Councillor Kathryn Field



The submitted petition