Councils will be handed new powers to introduce 20mph speed-limit zones in residential areas under Government proposals following a report which showed the number of road injuries in London within restricted zones fell by 40% over ten years.
Under current rules, councils can only introduce 20mph limits with speed humps and other traffic calming measures.
However, the new proposals will allow local authorities to implement the safer restriction zones in residential streets where cycle and pedestrian traffic is high.
The Government has also called on local authorities to review the limits imposed on rural roads in a bid to reduce accidents on the most accident-prone A and B roads.
Unveiling the proposals, road safety minister Paul Clark, said: “The number of people killed and seriously injured on Britain’s roads has fallen by 40% since the mid-1990s and Britain now has the joint safest roads in the world.
“We have seen that 20mph zones with traffic calming measures can make a real difference to the safety of local roads.
“But we’ve also looked at the latest research and listened to councils and residents who want to introduce 20mph limits on a series of roads where physical traffic calming measures aren’t possible or practical.”