New proposal for city centre 20mph restriction published

20mph zone could be implemented in Belfast city centre
20mph zone could be implemented in Belfast city centre

Plans to impose a 20mph speed limit across Belfast city centre have been published by the Department for Regional Development.

In a draft legal notice published in Tuesday’s News Letter, the DRD outlined how - if successfully implemented - the proposal would affect traffic from the Donegall Square/City Hall area out as far as Ann Street, May Street, Gresham Street, Upper Queen Street and Talbot Street, as well as stretches of Chichester Street, Waring Street and York Street.

From the date the legal notice was published, the public have 22 days to register any objections to the proposals.

Depending on the response, the draft notice could become law - reducing the city centre speed limit from the current 30mph. Some streets in Ballymena and Newtownabbey are also included in the plans.

Rosses Avenue, Rosses Farm, Rosses Lane, Rosses Meadows and Rosses Stables in Ballymena could all see 20mph limits imposed, along with those in Merville Garden Village, Newtownabbey.

In April this year, the PSNI gave evidence to the regional development committee at Stormont, which was examining the feasibility of a widespread introduction of 20mph limits mainly in residential areas.

Chief Inspector Diane Pennington said that 20mph zones - where physical traffic-slowing measures have been put in place - can cause difficulties for emergency 

“We would prefer something that does not use physical measures for the reasons that I have outlined and something where drivers are aware of the speed on the road and will reduce and restrict their limit accordingly,” she said.

Inspector Rosie Leech told the committee that a Province-wide “blanket approach” to 20mph zones would “cause an excessive enforcement burden,” and “divert attention away from other roads where the national speed limit is in place”.

Insp Leech said: “Our focus has been on trying to direct our enforcement and resources to the areas where it is clear that collisions are happening and injuries are being sustained.”

Full details of the proposals, together with maps showing the roads involved, can be inspected free of charge at County Hall, Ballymena; County Hall, Omagh; Traffic Management, Hydebank; and Marlborough House, Craigavon.