Built-up area (Highway Code)

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A 30 mph speed limit reminder road sign. Used when there is insufficient street lighting for a road to legally have an automatic 30 mph speed limit.

In the UK Highway Code, a built-up area is a settled area in which the speed limit of a road is automatically 30 mph (48 km/h). These roads are known as 'restricted roads' and are identified by the presence of street lights.

Legal definition[edit]

In August 2006, the Department for Transport issued new guidance relating to speed limits. It states that:[1]

Section 82(1)(a) (of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (RTRA 1984)) defines a restricted road in England and Wales as a road which is provided with “a system of street lighting furnished by means of lamps placed not more than 200 yards apart”. Section 81 specifically makes it an offence for a person to drive a motor vehicle at a speed of more than 30 mph on a restricted road.

"Street lighting" is further defined as follows:

As set out in paragraph 45, it is generally recognised that a ‘system’ of street lighting could be three or more lamps spaced not more than 183 metres apart. However, street lighting (for the purposes of determining whether or not a road is a restricted) is not necessarily limited to street lamps, but may extend to lighting provided by authorities or parish councils.

To avoid confusion that could arise if some 30 mph zones were 'street-lit' and some were not, DfT guidance goes onto say:

Direction 11 of The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 (TSRGD 2002) defines the requirements for the placing of speed-limit repeater signs. This states that speed-limit repeater signs cannot be placed along a road on which there is carriageway lighting not more than 183 metres apart and which is subject to a 30 mph speed limit. The Department will not make exceptions to this rule.

This leads to the conclusion that:

This means it should be assumed that, unless an order has been made and the road is signed to the contrary, a 30 mph speed limit applies where there are three or more lamps throwing light on the carriageway and placed not more than 183 metres apart.

Legislation[edit]

Most road traffic law pertaining to speed limits is contained in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (RTRA 1984). Other relevant legislation includes the Highways Act 1980, where Sections 90A-F cover road humps and Sections 90G-I cover other traffic-calming works. Part VI of the RTRA 1984 deals specifically with speed limits, with Sections 81-84 dealing with different speed limits and the speed-limit order-making process.

External links[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Department for Transport (2006-08-08). "DfT Circular 01/2006: Setting Local Speed Limits". Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-02-06. Retrieved 2007-02-10.