Speed Limit Reductions

Cheshire | Derbyshire | Greater Manchester | Lancashire | Merseyside | South Yorkshire | Staffordshire

The following is a list of roads in and around Greater Manchester where the speed limit has been reduced since 1985. I question whether many of these are justified, although in some cases I can understand the rationale for them, and many are in contravention of official government guidelines as stated in Department of Transport Circular Roads 1/93.

They contribute little or nothing to road safety and mainly succeed in frustrating and delaying road users. Bad limits devalue good ones and lead to speed limits in general being brought further into disrepute. A further problem is that reducing the speed limit only where particular safety concerns have been raised leads to serious inconsistencies between roads of similar character.

I have recently added a detailed article about the background to speed limit reductions.

I can't swear that I've got all the details right, but all them are correct to the best of my recollection.

Note: "NSL" = "National Speed Limit", i.e. 70 mph on dual and 60 mph on single carriageways


In the past, Cheshire was one of the more sensible authorities for speed limits. Many lightly-developed villages retain 40 limits, and very few rural A-roads have been reduced to 50 - the Cat & Fiddle is a special case, and the A523 and A556 are Highways Agency roads. Halton (covering Runcorn and Widnes) and Warrington have now become unitary authorities and may not take such an enlightened approach. However, recently there have been signs of Cheshire changing its attitude to speed limits, and there has been a spate of reductions in and around villages, but the county remains (October 2006) largely free of extended rural 50 limits. This remained true up to about 2011, but following the split of the county into two unitary authorities - Cheshire East, and Cheshire West and Cheshire - there have been growing signs of a more aggressive approach on the part of both.

  • A34 Congleton - existing 30 limit extended about a third of a mile further south into the 40 limit heading towards Astbury. Only partially developed, so 40 was sensible here.
  • A34 Marton (between Monk's Heath and Congleton): NSL (60) - 30. A small village with pub, church, garage and a few houses, where the survival of NSL was perhaps anomalous. The boundaries of the new limit are sensible, and it is no more than half a mile long, although the level of development would indicate a 40 rather than a 30.
  • A34 Alderley Edge to just south of Nether Alderley: NSL (60) - 40. A narrow, twisty stretch of busy A-road with numerous junctions and adjoining properties, where it's difficult to much exceed 40 anyway, so not unreasonable. Probably only NSL previously because it is unlit. Now bypassed by the new Alderley Edge Bypass opened in 2010.
  • A49 Whitchurch - Tarporley: NSL (60) - 50 for about two miles through Spurstow and Bunbury Heath. Has a scattering of development and several junctions but never remotely built up. Also NSL (60) - 40 for about mile N of Beeston, past turn-off for Tiverton village. Although this is signed as "Tiverton" none of the village is actually on the main road. The well-sighted uphill northbound stretch out of Beeston used to be a prime site for overtaking slow-moving vehicles
  • A50 Church Lawton, NSL (60) - 50 for about mile N of traffic lights at junction with A5011 and B5077. Although this section is not built up it skirts developed areas and has several junctions.
  • A50 Knutsford - Cranage, NSL (60) - 50 for the entire section. This for the most part is a wide, well-aligned former trunk road making it a particularly objectionable reduction. There was a pre-existing 50 limit of long standing through Cranage into Holmes Chapel.
  • Former A500 Weston - Nantwich, NSL (60) - 40 between Hough and Nantwich bypass (a length of about 3 miles), with 30 over the awkward railway bridge at Hough, and 1 camera in each direction. Some of this road, which skirts the villages of Hough and Shavington, has become fairly built-up, but the blanket 40 limit all the way is over the top. This road was bypassed in 2003 and has now become unclassified, so the lower limit is less objectionable but at the same time less necessary.
  • A5034 NW of Knutsford, between A50 and A556, NSL (60) - 40 for its entire length of about 1 miles. Does not appear particularly built up, but has a number of property accesses hidden behind tall hedges, and several sharpish bends. This further reduces the attractiveness of the road as a cut-off avoiding the lights at Mere Corner.
  • B5081 Middlewich - Knutsford: 40 - 30 through the fairly lightly developed village of Swan Green (where 40 was appropriate), then NSL (60) - 40 for about three-quarters of a mile north through Lower Peover, where there is really very little development.
  • B5085 Knutsford - Alderley Edge: NSL (60) - 30 from Mobberley to Knolls Green, 40 - 30 through Row-of-Trees, west of B5086 junction, with an extension into a former NSL area. The former is partially built up, but 40 would have been more appropriate than 30, and the latter was reasonable as a 40.
  • B5156 south of Delamere Forest: NSL (60) - 40. Houses all along one side of the road, so again not unreasonable
  • B5159 on either side of the crossroads with the A56 at Broomedge: NSL (60) - 40 (Spring 2011). This is fairly built up, so not unreasonable. Also a very short and pointless 50 on the south side up to the border with Cheshire East. To the north it has been reduced from NSL (60) to 50 as far as the start of the 30 limit at Heatley, but as this whole section is only about half a mile in length and includes the signal-controlled underpass beneath the Bridgewater Canal, it would have made sense to reduce it to 40 to provide a longer stretch with a consistent limit.
  • B5166 Hollin Lane, between Moss Nook and Styal: NSL (60) - 40. Has some development, so not entirely unreasonable
  • A523 Hazel Grove - Poynton: Reduced from NSL (60) - 50 at some time during the 1980s, then again to 40 in 2002, with an extended 30 mph section at the Poynton end. Known locally as the "Mad Mile", this is nevertheless a wide, well-aligned and almost entirely rural stretch of road. See map
  • A523 Poynton - Macclesfield: NSL (60) - 50 for about 2 miles S of Poynton, with extended 40 section leaving Poynton. Also half a mile of NSL (60) - 40 at the southern end of this section, past the Bonis Hall Lane lights and through Butley Town.
  • A523 Macclesfield - Leek: 50 - 40 for about a mile S of Macclesfield; NSL (60) - 40 for about a mile through scattered hamlet of Bosley. The 50 limit south of Macclesfield to just south of Fool's Nook is a previous reduction from NSL (60), but has been in existence for many years
  • A533 Sandbach - Elworth: 40 - 30. Another sensible outer-suburban 40 limit bites the dust, thus removing the slowing effect of a 30 gateway on entering the more densely built-up town/village centres
  • A533 Runcorn - Northwich : NSL (60) - 30 for -mile section through Whitehouse industrial estate, linking three roundabouts. There are no business frontages or entrances. Then 40 - 30 through the small village of Dutton, with a pub, garage and shop and a scattering of houses. The 40 limit through Dutton survived for several years after the NSL through the industrial estate. 40 would be appropriate throughout.
  • A533/A558 Runcorn Expressway: NSL (70) - 40 for about half a mile on either side of new traffic lights for road giving access to Runcorn town centre. These traffic lights undermine the whole concept of the Expressway as a road with grade separated junctions. This scheme will probably make it more dangerous, and the 40 limit, while justified in the immediate vicinity of the junction, extends much too far.
  • A533/A557/A558 Runcorn Expressway: NSL (70) - 60 over the whole length of the road system except that mentioned above. At least they didn't cut it to 50, but the roads are effectively motorway standard with Armco, hard shoulders and grade-separated junctions. Some of the junctions and curves are a bit tight, but equally there are some magnificent straights, particularly on the A558 heading towards Moore. After an initial blitz, police enforcement appears to be light, although two green-painted Gatsos were installed on the Weston Point section in early 2002, one of which was vandalised shortly afterwards.
    Interestingly, the whole Expressway was originally 50 when opened in the early 70s but this limit was found to be in violation of signing regulations then current so it was increased to the NSL.
  • A533/A557 Runcorn-Widnes Bridge: 40 - 30 on tightly curved slip roads at the junction with the Runcorn Expressway at the southern end; NSL (70) - 50 from the northern end of the bridge across the flyover at the junction with the A562 to shortly beyond where the west-facing slip roads come in. The layout of the southern sliproads means that speeds above 40 were rarely achieved anyway, and the short 30 limits between two 40s seem unnecessary. The 50 at the northern end is shorter than I had feared, and the tight junctions and sharp curve on the flyover make 70 rather too fast, although I would have preferred a 60 in line with the Runcorn Expressways.
  • A535 SW of Alderley Edge, NSL (60) - 40 for about mile through scattered settlement of Great Warford. Although there is no focal point of shop or pub, the level of development here is commensurate with a 40 limit and it also includes a hospital, so this one is not unreasonable.
  • A535 on either side of Chelford roundabout (junction with A537): NSL (60) - 40. Also a short distance of 40 limit on the eastbound A537 towards Macclesfield - westbound through Chelford village it was already 40. No real problem with this as it incorporates a church in one direction and a school in the other, and only reflects real-life road speeds.
  • A535, between Chelford and Holmes Chapel, NSL (60) - 50 for the entire distance (done in three bites, finally completed Spring 2014) with spurious 30 limits through the very lightly-developed "villages" of Jodrell Bank and Twemlow Green. The 30s are particularly objectionable and seem to signify a new hard-line approach from Cheshire East Council.
  • B5356 just off the A56 at Daresbury, 30 - 20 (!) in the village centre, with the 20 extended about 200 yards into a former NSL to the east of the village, together with humps and a chicane. This latter section is a rare example of a direct reduction from NSL to 20 mph.
  • B5356 between Stretton and Hatton, 40 - 30 for about 250 yards immediately west of the A49, which is not unreasonable as it is mostly built up on both sides, then NSL (60) - 40 for just over half a mile further west, on which there are only about three properties. This includes a possible overtaking straight and also removes a 40 gateway at a point where houses appear on one side of the road.
  • B5356 from A49 at Stretton to M6 Junction 20, 40 - 30 at two separate locations through Stretton and Appleton Thorn villages. I can't object too much to this one, particularly as a large number of new houses have been built in Appleton Thorn in recent years, and the new 30 is fairly short and entirely within the boundaries of the previous 40. The 30 at Stretton extends a little too far outside the built-up area, but the intervening stretch is still NSL (60).
  • B5358 Bonis Hall Lane from A523 at Butley to A5102 at Dean Row, NSL (60) - 40 for the entire length. While this is a twisty road where 60 is rarely even approachable in a car, it is at no point appreciably built up.
  • A536 at Gawsworth, SW of Macclesfield, 50 - 40 for about half a mile as the road passes west of the village. Presumably this was originally NSL, but I don't remember it having a higher limit than 50. There is a scattering of development and a crossroads, but it nowhere approaches the density one might expect for a 40 limit.
  • A537 through village of Chelford, E of Knutsford: 40 - 30. Apart from in the very centre of the village by the now-closed Dixon Arms, the road is mostly only developed on one side and the previous 40 limit was appropriate.
  • A537 Macclesfield - Buxton ("Cat & Fiddle" road): NSL (60) - 50 from Macclesfield to Cheshire/Derbyshire border. A temporary speed limit imposed with great haste in August 2001, with a permanent one later confirmed. A very twisty and challenging road that is a magnet for bikers, and the limit reduction was prompted by the high level of bike accidents. Except in two locations it's difficult to exceed 50 by much in a normal saloon car, and the irresponsible end of the biker spectrum had no regard for the previous 60 limit, so it's hard to see what difference 50 will make. The speed limit at the Derbyshire end was reduced from NSL to 50 early in 2008.
  • A538 Wilmslow - Prestbury, NSL (60) - 50, with a 40 limit through lightly developed Mottram St Andrew. A fairly narrow and twisty road, with few overtaking opportunities, but even so a shame to see yet another rural A-road NSL bite the dust.
  • A538 approaching Prestbury from the west, 40 - 30 for about half a mile, through an area that is partially developed, with large houses set back from the road, and few pedestrians, where the previous 40 was appropriate.
  • B5391 for about a mile through Pickmere and Higher Wincham, north-east of Northwich: 40 - 30. This is one of those roads with intermittent development that is fully built up in places, but with only a scattering of properties in others.
  • A54 through hamlet of Sproston Green, W of M6 Junction 18: NSL (60) - 40 for almost a mile. The road is never continuously built up on both sides and the 40 limit extends well beyond what could remotely be considered reasonable. See map
  • A54 from Bosley to Buxton (and thus extending into Derbyshire): NSL (60) - 50 for the entire length. The western section as far as Allgreave is very steep and twisty, but east of there it opens out and some sections are easily good for 60. This is in line with the general reduction of Peak District A-roads to 50 mph.
  • B5470 Macclesfield - Whaley Bridge: NSL (60) - 40 between Hurdsfield and Rainow (scarcely developed, entirely suitable for NSL), and 40 - 30 through Rainow itself, a straggling village that is at no point fully built up on both sides of the road. Also (2009) NSL (60) - 50 between Rainow and Whaley Bridge on either side of the already 30 village of Kettleshulme. Apart from between the former Highwayman pub and Charles Head, this will make no difference to real-world speeds, and how often is it going to be enforced?
  • A556 on either side of B5156 junction at Vale Royal: NSL (60) - 50. A significant amount of development and properties here so not unreasonable. In summer 2013 this was further extended westwards along the A556 and past the junction with the A54 to the start of the dual-carriageway Kelsall bypass, along a much higher quality stretch of road.
  • A556 between M56 junction 7 and M6 Junction 19: NSL (70/60) - 50 for the entire distance. The northern third, which is partly dualled, was originally just cut to 60, but further reduced to 50 in March 2008. Backed up by one camera in each direction between Mere Corner and the Swan at Bucklow Hill. S of Mere Corner there is an obvious 50 "gateway", suggesting they originally intended to keep the NSL S of there but changed their minds.
    OK, this road is overloaded, but this is utterly ridiculous. It includes one of the best single-carriageway straights in the country, easily good for 80+ in the right conditions.
  • A557 Runcorn-Frodsham: NSL (70/60) - 40 through M56 Junction 12 and for about mile to the south through an area with some new office units. NSL had begun to seem incongruous on the developed stretch, but 40 can be easily and safely exceeded on the stretch of dual carriageway joining the two roundabouts at the junction.
  • A559 W of Northwich, from just after junction with A556 to Greenbank: 40 - 30. While many similar suburban main roads have been reduced from 40 to 30, it was still a shame to see this one go. The western section in particular is very wide, with properties set well back from the road.
  • A559 E of Northwich out to Lostock Gralam: 40 - 30. This survived as a 40 for several years when the corresponding road to the west was reduced to 30, and was even marked up with 40 roundels on the road. It is a classic 40 limit road with intermittent development. 30 is quite unreasonable here
  • A56 at Little Bollington, between the M56 junction and Lymm, NSL (60) - 40 for just over half a mile past the Olde Number 3 and Stamford Arms pubs (introduced June 2000). See picture.
  • A56 between Agden Brow and Lymm, NSL (60) - 40 for about a mile past the Broomedge crossroads (Spring 2011), with the 30 extended at the western end. While there is some development along this stretch, most of it does not have the density normally associated with a 40 limit.
  • A56 between Lymm and Thelwall, NSL (60) - 40 for about a quarter of a mile on either side of the bridge under the M6 (October 2011). The length of this section had been steadily reduced by encroachments by the limits on either side, and had become so short it was anomalous.
  • A56 SW of Warrington, NSL (70) - 40 for about a mile from the Ship Inn to the Walton traffic lights (August 2002). This is an entirely rural dual carriageway, laid out in the 1930s and including a bypass of Walton village. There are no property frontages whatsoever, making this one of the most inappropriate reductions of all. There are a couple of fairly sharp bends, and a sharp transition to the built-up, 30 limit, environment by the Ship Inn, but even so surely a 60 limit and 30 mph count-down markers approaching Warrington would have done the job. See map and picture.
  • A56 Walton - Daresbury, NSL (60) - 50. This is a wide, well-aligned stretch of road including an excellent overtaking straight. If this isn't suitable for NSL, what is? Warrington BC have also applied a particularly oppressive scheme of wide central hatching.
  • A56 near Runcorn, from Expressway roundabout (A533) to Preston Brook: NSL (60) - 30. There has been some business development but no houses so surely this should be 40.
  • A56 through Sutton Weaver, near Runcorn: 40 - 30. Fairly lightly built-up, so 40 was reasonable, although there are many less developed 30s now. There are no shops, pubs, churches or schools to generate pedestrian traffic. At the west end, the 40 had been extended into a partially developed former NSL area, which was acceptable as a 40, but totally inappropriate as a 30.
  • A56 between Helsby and Chester, NSL (60) - 40 for about a mile north from the existing 40 limit through Mickle Trafford to just beyond the B5132 junction at Bridge Trafford. There has been some development adjacent to the road, but even so this road is lightly developed for a 40.
  • A562 Widnes - Warrington: NSL (70) - 50 on dual carriageway section east of Eight Towers pub. I recall being made to do 70 along here during a driving lesson in the 1970s! The single carriageway section to the east past the gates of Fiddler's Ferry power station has been 50 for many years.
  • A562 in Penketh, SW of Warrington, 40 - 30 for about a mile from Sankey Way to Doe Green Island (August 2002). This is a wide, generally well-aligned dual-carriageway, partly only built up on one side, and 40 was an appropriate limit. See map
  • A57 Sankey Way, west of Warrington town centre: NSL (70)- 40. A high standard dual carriageway with no immediately adjoining properties, although development has steadily encroached on it. The speed limit was reduced to 40 in 1999 or 2000 in the face of opposition from Cheshire Police, who recommended a 50 limit, which would have been more reasonable. No cameras (May 2002)
  • A57 M6 Junction 21 - Cadishead, NSL (60) - 50. Another perfectly reasonable stretch of rural A-road NSL bites the dust (August 2007). The Irlam/Cadishead bypass to the east (in Salford) has always been 50 since opening, although mostly of a very high standard and devoid of development. There is also a particularly regrettable piece of one-laning on the short dual carriageway stretch at Hollins Green.
  • Unclass Barleycastle Lane (off B5356 S of Warrington): NSL (60) - 40 for about half a mile up to bridge over M6. Has a few entrances to industrial units but otherwise largely rural.
  • Unclass Brookledge Lane, Adlington: NSL - 40 -30 from A523 crossroads by Legh Arms to Macclesfield Canal bridge. There is a cluster of houses at the bottom, and a school near the top, but otherwise this is an entirely rural road. Given the hazards, 40 was not unreasonable, but 30 is too low, and as it is never likely to be enforced will be routinely ignored.
  • Unclass Dean Row Road, Handforth: 40 - 30 from near Manchester Road to just E of bridge over new A34. No problem with this as a substantial amount of new housing and a shopping centre had been built adjoining the road.
  • Unclass Marbury Road/Warrington Road, Comberbach (NE of Northwich): 40 - 30. The speed limit boundaries are fairly closely aligned to the boundaries of the built-up areas of the village, so it is difficult to object to this one. Some of the reduced section may be OK for 40, but in the village centre it clearly isn't.
  • Unclass Reade's Lane, Dane-in-Shaw, SE of Congleton: NSL (60) - 40 for about mile from end of 30 limit in Dane-in-Shaw village to Coach & Horses pub at Timbersbrook. A steep, twisty stretch where in practice 40 is unlikely to be significantly exceeded, but do we really need 40 limits to tell drivers to moderate their speed on bends and hills? Although unclassified, this road has white lines all the way and represents something of a main road between Congleton and Leek.


For a long time, Derbyshire had fairly reasonable speed limits, with many good suburban 40s remaining. However, in 2007 and 2008 the policy dramatically changed and now effectively all the main A-roads in the Peak District area have been reduced to 50, including such excellent driving roads as the A515 and A623 which have many sections that are perfectly good for 60 and more. In addition, a number of lightly developed urban fringe roads have been reduced to an unreasonable 30.

  • A5004 (former A6) Whaley Bridge - A6 at Bridgmont: NSL (60) - 40. This is only about half a mile long and includes a turning to a new Tesco supermarket, so is not that unreasonable
  • A5004 Long Hill, Whaley Bridge - Buxton: NSL (60) - 50, with a 40 limit through the "hamlet" of Fernilee. A highly scenic rural road with a mixture of bends and long straights. NSL on main roads is now virtually extinct in the Derbyshire Peak District.
  • A515 Buxton - Ashbourne: NSL (60) - 50, with the existing 30 and 40 limits at Buxton extended. A high-quality, well-aligned road that for long distances follows a Roman road. See photos
  • A515 Ashbourne - Sudbury: NSL (60) - 50, with an extended 40 through the very lightly-developed "hamlet" of Cubley. The only NSL to remain is about half a mile on the three-lane hill climbing southwards out of Ashbourne. This is for the most part a high-quality road that has seen significant straightening over the years and this is utterly absurd and totally unjustifiable.
  • B5470 (former A6) Whaley Bridge - Chapel-en-le-Frith: NSL (60) - 50. This is in line with the rest of the A6 single carriageway reduction. Then in 2008 further reduced by extending the 30 zone at the Chapel end into an area where development would rather suggest a 40, and then reducing the 50 as far as Tunstead Milton to 40, which is in fact just about sufficiently developed to make 40 not unreasonable.
  • A57 Snake Pass, Glossop - Ladybower: NSL (60) - 50. Yet another totally unjustified blanket reduction to 50, and the longest one so far in the area. Parts are twisty and challenging, but others are well-aligned and well suited to speeds over 50.
  • A6 Furness Vale: 40 - 30. As this runs through the centre of a village, with a pub and shops, I'm surprised it wasn't done before the beginning of 2000, and it's one of the few on this page that I have no real objections to. At least on the A6 they have retained sections of 40 outside generously-defined village centres, which some other authorities may not have done. There is also a very short stretch of 30 in Bridgmont, where it is difficult to exceed 30 anyway. Between New Mills and the start of the Chapel-en-le-Frith bypass the 40/30 boundaries are also in the correct locations, which is not the case between New Mills and Hazel Grove. In early 2008 the section between Bridgmont and Furness Vale (where 40 was entirely appropriate as it was only developed on one side) was reduced from 40 to 30, and the 30 at the northern end of Furness Vale extended along a similar section to leave only about 500 yards of 40 limit before reaching New Mills.
  • A6 Chapel-en-le-Frith - Matlock: NSL (60) - 50 on all open country sections apart from the dual carriageway Taddington bypass, which remains at NSL (70). This actually extends all the way S to Derby, although I haven't driven it beyond Cromford.
  • A6015 New Mills - Hayfield: 40 - 30 for about a mile through the straggling "village" of Birch Vale, leaving only short stretches of 40 at each end. This was previously a reasonable straight run through at 40, and the amount of development on the 30 and 40 stretches is not dramatically different.
  • A624 Chapel-en-le-Frith - Glossop: NSL (60) - 50, with the previously 50 mph Hayfield bypass reduced to 40 (which is not that unreasonable, as it includes a dangerous staggered crossroads). (August 2000) The northern Hayfield-Glossop half is very twisty, so it will make little real world difference except to bikers, but the southern section is an excellent driving road with some long straights. My prophecy when I first recorded this in 2000 that it was Derbyshire CC's aim to reduce every single-carriageway A-road in the county to 50 seems to have come true by 2008, with such high-quality roads as the A515 and A623 being subject to the same butchery.
  • Unclass Marsh Lane, between Furness Vale and New Mills: NSL (60) - 40. A twisty back lane, only barely wide enough for a central white line, where it isn't physically possible to do much above 40 in a car. Hard to object to, but you wonder what difference it will make.
  • Unclass Monk's Road, between the A626 at Charlesworth and the A624 at Chunal Moor: NSL (60) - 50. A twisty, scenic moorland road with some steep hills, where the reduction is unlikely to make any difference to real world speeds and simply results in more signage clutter in the National Park.

Greater Manchester

  • A34 Cheadle Royal - Handforth Dean: NSL (70) - 50 (even though this is effectively a motorway-standard road), then 30 through roundabout where it crosses Stanley Road (B5094). It is ludicrous to see several hundred yards of 30 limit on a pedestrian-free, armco-equipped dual carriageway. See this picture of the 30 limit section.
  • A5102/A5149 Chester Road/Wilmslow Road, Woodford: 40 - 30 from Moor Lane junction past BAe Systems factory to Cheshire boundary; NSL (60) - 40 from Davenport Arms pub to Dean Row. Neither of these reductions is particularly unreasonable - the new 30 section is built up on both sides and has accesses to a factory, garden centre and supermarket, while the new 40 section has houses along one side for most of its length. However, it does mark the passing of the last NSL on a single-carriageway classified road within the Stockport MBC area.
  • B5160 Dunham - Heatley: NSL (60) - 40 between Dunham Town and Dunham Woodhouses (most of the road past Dunham Park having been 40 for many years), NSL (60) - 30 for about half a mile north of Dunham Woodhouses, where the 30 limit in the village centre has been extended to cover some outlying houses. Also a short 40 lead-in to this limit from the north. Oddly, while the road onwards towards Heatley remains NSL, it has NSL repeaters despite being unlit. Is this a sign of a future limit cut?
  • B5358 (former A34) Cheadle Royal roundabout - Finney Lane junction (Griffin Inn): 40 - 30. This section has several junctions but no property frontages.
  • B5358 (former A34) Heald Green - Handforth (Waggon & Horses pub): 40 - 30. Although only about half a mile long, this section is only partially built up, and was appropriate as a 40. The 30 gateways were also useful when entering the more densely developed sections at each end.
  • A538 Halebarns - M56 Junction 6: 40 - 30 (with a camera) - not particularly wide, but large houses set well back from the road and very little pedestrian traffic
  • A56 at Bowdon from B5160 traffic lights to M56 Junction 7, NSL (60) - 50, with a camera in the southbound direction. A wide, straight four-lane road. See map
  • A560 Timperley - Sharston (through Baguley): 40 - 30 (reduced January 2004). Part dual carriageway mainly bordering retail parks and offices, partly a wide single carriageway with parkland on one side - 40 was an appropriate limit. There is still about a mile of 40 limit to the west in Trafford MBC on Shaftesbury Avenue bypassing Timperley village centre.
  • A560 Gee Cross - Mottram: 30 limit E of Gee Cross extended, then open country section NSL (60) - 50, 40 limit through Hattersley and dual carriageway limited to 1 lane in each direction (I am told that this was originally NSL despite running between two housing estates). Later (2012) the rural section was reduced from 50 to 40, and the northern half of the 40 limit through the Hattersley estate cut to 30 in association with the development of a Tesco Extra next to the Mottram roundabout.
  • A57 Hyde - Mottram: NSL (60) - 30/40. The new 30 limit extends well out into a rural environment to include the entrances to two housing estates; beyond it the section with the new 40 limit is not built up at all. Yet there is still a short section of NSL covering the M67 roundabout and a stretch beyond towards Mottram village centre, which is partially developed.
  • A576 Heaton Park, Manchester, 40 - 30 for about a third of a mile from the Heaton Park Hotel to just past the junction for Victoria Avenue. This now leaves only half a mile of 40 limit on the dual carriageway between there and the M60 Junction 19 roundabout.
  • A58 Snydale Way, Bolton: NSL (70)- 40. The link road between the A6 and M61 Junction 5. Although only about half a mile long, it is an entirely undeveloped dual carriageway where 40 is unreasonably low.
  • A58 Beaumont Road, Bolton: NSL (60)- 50. The westernmost part of Bolton's half ring road, previously a very wide (and very badly surfaced) two-lane single carriageway, it was remodelled into a dual carriageway in 2004. There are several junctions, and houses accessed by frontage roads, so this is not wholly unreasonable
  • A58 Moss Bank Way, Bolton: 40 - 30 for about a third of a mile on either side of the junction with the A6099 Halliwell Road. This is another section of the ring road, and seems anomalous, as the remainder remains (May 2005) at 40, including some single-carriageway sections. Long lengths of dual carriageway on this road have also been reduced to one lane in each direction
  • A58 Peel Way, Bury: 40 - 30. The town's northern relief road, part of a never-completed inner ring road. Fairly short, but with no adjacent properties this should have remained at 40.
  • A58 Rochdale - Heywood: 40 - 30. Part of this runs through an entirely rural environment, with no development whatsoever, and there are signs saying "Warning - this is still a 30 zone!" Absolutely ludicrous! There is still a short section of 40 further west between Heywood and Bury, which ironically has houses on one side. See map
  • A580 East Lancs Road: NSL (70) - 60 between Golborne and Astley, within Wigan MBC. This famous 1930s road is a high quality dual carriageway with continuous central armco, and virtually all uncontrolled central gaps blocked, although with a number of signalised crossings. On much of this stretch, especially that bypassing Leigh, 70 is an entirely reasonable speed, and 60 feels distinctly slow. Oddly, about a mile of NSL remains between Golborne and M6 Junction 23. In 2009 further reduced from 60 to 50 for about a mile around the A572 junction at Lane Head, a section that includes three signalised crossroads.
  • A580 East Lancs Road: 60 - 50 between Astley and Swinton, within Wigan and Salford MBCs. This section was 60 for many years when the one above was NSL. Although there is some development around the junctions, there are lengthy sections between them without property frontages, especially through the junction with the M60, and 60 was a reasonable limit.
  • A6 Hazel Grove: 40 - 30 for just over half a mile east of the A523 junction at the Rising Sun pub. This is a wide, well-aligned road that gives the impression to me of a classic 40 mph road. The limit goes up to 40 where the NSL mentioned below used to start.
  • A6 Hazel Grove - High Lane: NSL (60) - 40, with 30 limit extended at High Lane end. The 40 section clearly isn't a country road, but 50 would have been preferable just to make drivers think a bit. They have now filled the middle of the road with bollards and red hatched areas so overtaking is well-nigh impossible
  • A6 High Lane - Disley: NSL (60) - 40, with 30 limits extended at each end (as this runs through woodland with few if any house frontages, why is a sub-60 limit required?)
  • A6 Little Hulton - Chequerbent (SW of Bolton): NSL (60) - 40. The section through Over Hulton village was very built up for an NSL (see picture) but between Over Hulton and Little Hulton the road is not built up (see picture) and 50 would have been less objectionable.
  • M60 Junction 25 (Bredbury): NSL (70) - 50, for about mile on either side of the exit slip for the junction, in clockwise direction only. This originally only applied to the sharp bend to the south-west of the slip road, but in October 2006 was extended northwards for mile along a stretch of straight, well-aligned 3-lane motorway. It is very unusual to see a lower speed limit in the middle of a 70-limit motorway, and the northern section positively invites being treated with contempt, although it is more understandable around the sharp bend. So far the Highways Agency have resisted the temptation to extend the lower limit through the centre of Stockport, where the M60 also has narrow lanes and closely-spaced junctions
  • A6017 Denton - Stockport: 40 - 30 for about mile west of the Mason's Arms pub in Denton. See picture of the former start of the 40 limit. To be honest this was one of the more built-up 40 limits and, while its demise is regrettable, it is perhaps surprising it survived so long in car-hating Tameside.
  • A6017 Stockport Road, Ashton-under-Lyne: 30 - 20 for about west of Ashton town centre. This is absolutely incredible, as this is just a typical wide urban main road with a mixture of houses, shops and business premises, with no obvious unusual hazards, so it is hard to see why such a ludicrous restriction should be imposed.
  • A6044 Prestwich - Pendlebury: 40 - 30 for about mile approaching the A666 at Pendlebury, past the site of the former Agecroft Power Station. A wide road that is never more than partly built up.
  • B6101 Marple - New Mills: 40 - 30 through Strines (a long section through an urban fringe area with intermittent house frontages), then NSL - 40 for about half a mile. Realistically, this short remaining section of NSL was something of an anomaly. The 30 limit through Hague Bar at the southern end was reduced in length by about 50 yards.
  • A6104 Victoria Avenue East/Hollinwood Avenue in North Manchester from just E of junction with A664 Rochdale Road to Moston Station: 40 - 30. A very wide, straight road, which for most of its length is not built up at all on the N side and only partially on the S. Another sensible suburban 40 limit bites the dust! The limit on the B6393 either side of Chain Bar roundabout has also been cut from 40 to 30 - see below. See map
  • B6104 Romiley - Compstall (Compstall Road): 40 - 30 including long hill down into Compstall which is totally rural
  • A6144 Sale - Carrington: NSL (60) - 40 between A6144(M) junction and B5158 (Flixton Road). As this is an entirely rural road this is ludicrous, and to make it worse there's a Gatso in each direction
  • A6144 through Carrington village: 40 - 30. This section is never continuously built up on both sides, and 40 was an appropriate limit. The existing Gatso will have been recalibrated.
  • A6144 Partington - Heatley: NSL (60) - 40. There are a number of bends on this section, but it is entirely rural.
  • B6194 Lees New Road, between Ashton and Oldham, NSL (60) - 40. A ruler-straight road, possibly 1930s new-build, where the section that has been reduced runs through an entirely rural area, so the cut does not seem justified. This was about the last stretch of NSL in the shrinking areas of countryside between the main Greater Manchester towns.
  • B6194 Shaw - Rochdale: 40 - 30. The central section of this road through Burnedge traverses a largely rural environment with only intermittent development. In the past this may even have been NSL. The map clearly shows the non built-up nature of this road. Interestingly, the parallel A671 through Buersil Head, which is more or less entirely built up, retained its 40 mph limit until Autumn 2005.
  • A62 Oldham - Marsden: NSL(60) - 40 from Scouthead to Delph, which is a fairly twisty section, then NSL (60) - 50 from Delph to the West Yorkshire county boundary at Standedge summit, including an S2+1 section. Still (October 2013) NSL from there down to Marsden.
  • A626 Offerton - Marple: 40/NSL - 30 all the way. This is not built up and from Offerton House to the top of Dan Bank should have been kept at 40
  • A626 Marple Bridge - Dinting: NSL (60) - 40, with greatly extended 30 through Charlesworth and Chisworth. A very twisty road, so the 40 makes little real world difference to car drivers, but I don't imagine motorcyclists like it.
  • A627 Marple - Bredbury (Otterspool Road): NSL (60) - 40. Much of this section is not at all built up, but it does contain a bridge with tight bends
  • A627 Dowson Road, Hyde: 40 - 30. A wide, 1930s road with houses set well back. The road also has been reduced from four lanes to two. Only a fragment of 40 limit less than half a mile long now remains on the main road between Stockport and Hyde, just south of here, where the road is the A560.
  • A627 Ashton - Oldham: 40 - 30. The 40 section on this road has been steadily reduced and has now been entirely eliminated. For a significant district on either side of Smokies Park Hotel (sic) the road is not continuously built up, and the 40 limit should have been retained
  • A635 Mossley - Greenfield: 40 - 30 for some distance west of Greenfield, leaving only a short stretch of 40 between the two settlements. This road is only built up on one side and the previous 40 limit was appropriate.
  • B6393 Lightbowne Road in North Manchester from just N of Kenyon Lane traffic lights to city boundary at M60 bridge: 40 - 30. Dual-carriageway all the way, with a long stretch running through Broadhurst Park where there is no frontage development whatsoever, although one section is built up on either side. I vaguely remember the non built-up section in the 80s being 50 or even NSL - but I'm not certain. See map
  • A663 Broadway, Failsworth - Royton: NSL (70) - 40 for about half a mile from the traffic lights on the A62 Oldham Road to the Manchester/Oldham boundary at Moston Brook, reduced in the early 1990s. Although this section, unlike the rest of the road, is not built up, it must be said this was something of an anomaly.
  • A664 Manchester - Rochdale: 40 - 30. Like the A627 above, the 40 sections between Blackley and Middleton, and Middleton and Castleton, have been reduced to 30, so it is now 30 all the way from Manchester City Centre to the 40-limit Manchester Road dual carriageway in Rochdale. Between Middleton and Castleton the road runs for some distance through an almost entirely rural environment. I suspect (although I'm not absolutely sure) there also used to be 40 limits along much of the Queensway/Kingsway Rochdale southern ring road.
  • A666 (St Peter's Way) from M61 junction to Bolton: NSL (70) - 50, with at least 2 cameras in each direction. A near motorway-standard road with graded junctions and no pedestrians.
  • A666 Blackburn Road, Bolton from A58 northern ring road to near Bolton borough boundary: 40 - 30. A wide, well-aligned suburban road that for part of its length is only partially built up.
  • A671 Royton - Rochdale, 40 - 30 for about a mile north of the Rochdale boundary at Summit. Not perhaps the least built-up of 40 limits, but even so it's a shame to see another one bite the dust.
  • A672 from Ram's Head pub NE of Denshaw to Greater Manchester boundary near M62 Junction 22: NSL(60) - 50. Another NSL on a twisty but totally non built-up moorland road is lost. There is also an extended 40 zone leading in to Denshaw. No doubt the current 40 limit from Denshaw to the outskirts of Oldham was once an NSL, but I don't specifically remember it.
  • Unclass Belmont Way, Stockport: 40 - 30. A new-build road from the late 1970s scything through an inner-urban area, but with no directly adjoining properties. Pictures here
  • Unclass Market Street, Broadbottom (unclass): 30 - 20, with a fearsome battery of road humps and cushions. The main road through the village, which is also used by a significant volume of through traffic. As the alternative routes involve long diversions, it is unlikely that much traffic will be deterred. No doubt the locals will appreciate having their car springs wrecked and an endless procession of slow-moving vehicles crashing and banging over the humps. See map
  • Unclass Mauldeth Road West, Manchester (unclass): 40 - 30 from A5103 Princess Road to A5145 Barlow Moor Road. Although not a main radial route, this is a lightly-developed dual carriageway where the 40 limit was appropriate. The reduction was done in two stages, firstly in the mid-1990s at the western end west of the old railway bridge, then the remainder in 2002. This is where the need for residents to display lights on parked cars in a 40 limit was seriously advanced as a reason for the cut.


I don't do much driving in Lancashire, and so haven't spotted many limit reductions, although I know they are plentiful, particularly in the Preston and Fylde areas. The ones below have struck me recently.

  • A6177 Grane Road, Blackburn - Haslingden: NSL (60) - 50 for its entire length, with an extended 40 section at its northern end near Belthorn to include a pub and a handful of houses. Formerly the B6232, this road assumed a greater importance with the completion of the M65 south of Blackburn, which it intersects at Junction 5. Although a perfectly reasonable and very scenic road, it is undoubtedly inadequate for the level of traffic now using it.
  • A666 Bolton - Blackburn: NSL (60) - 50 for central section across the moors, with extended 40s at each end. A wholly rural and generally well-aligned road including a good overtaking straight, but with one or two sharp bends and a hidden crossroads.
  • A675 Bolton - Preston: NSL (60) - 50 for the entire section within Blackburn Unitary Authority, plus an extended 30 on the southern approach to Belmont village. This is a good quality road with several long straights, and this is totally inappropriate. Ludicrously, NSL sections remain at either end in the areas administered by Bolton MBC and Lancashire County Council, the former less than half a mile long, and both of lower quality than the section that has been made 50.
  • A682 Rawtenstall - Burnley: NSL (60) - 50, again for section across the moors. The 40 limit at Dunnockshaw also appears to have been extended. NSL on these moorland main roads now seems to be an endangered species.


  • A580 East Lancs Road: NSL (70) - 50, then 60 from M57 Junction 4 to to just west of M6 Junction 23. There are clusters of development around junctions, but most of the road is very well aligned and totally non built-up. In the Knowsley MBC section, skirting Kirkby to the south, the supposedly 50 limit section lacked any of the required terminal signs in May 2007, leaving a highly confusing situation.

South Yorkshire

  • A616 Flouch Inn - Stocksbridge: NSL (60) - 50 from just south of Flouch roundabout to start of Stocksbridge bypass, with 40 through Langsett (which may have been there before) and Midhopestones (which definitely wasn't)


  • A34 Newcastle-under-Lyme - Stafford: NSL (70) - 60 on the open-country stretches, with several cameras. The Stone bypass remains at 50 which it has been as long as I can remember, although the limit may have been extended N to the Darlaston roundabout. A typical stretch of pre-motorway "arterial" dual-carriageway.
  • A500 Stoke "D-Road": NSL (70) - 50 to just SW of Hanford interchange (A34). N from Stoke the 50 limit extends for about 1 miles to the A53 junction - this may originally have been NSL all the way, but I'm not sure. Given the current climate it's a relief that 50 has not been imposed along more of this road. In summer 2013 the 50 limit was extended about of a mile further west to the roundabout at M6 Junction 15.
    The new grade-separated dual-carriageway A50 to the E has a 50 limit for a long way, which is difficult to keep to, and a short length of 40 through the Meir tunnel, although no cameras so far (June 2000).
  • B5038 Trentham - Hanchurch: NSL (60) - 40. A cut-off between the A34 and M6 Junction 15. The 30 through Trentham village is fine, but beyond that the road is largely undeveloped and has some long straight sections.
  • A51 Stone - Rugeley: numerous reductions as follows:
    - existing 40 limit extended southwards in Sandon
    - NSL (70) - 60 on dual carriageway between Sandon and Weston
    - NSL (60/70) - 40 for several hundred yards either side of the staggered junction with the A518 at Weston
    - NSL (60) - 50 for 2 miles S of Weston to just beyond junction for Hixon
    - NSL (60) - 40 for about three quarters of a mile through the outskirts of Colwich and Wolseley Bridge
    All the new 40 and 50 limits are backed up with newly-installed cameras. None of the stretches with reduced limits are appreciably built up. Another good, fast, old-fashioned A-road largely ruined by a misguided safety scheme, although three reasonable stretches of single-carriageway NSL remain, none with cameras (December 2001).
  • A51 Lichfield western bypass: NSL (60) - 40. Although skirting a built-up area, this well-aligned, gently curving road is almost entirely undeveloped.
  • A519 Eccleshall - Newport: NSL (60) - 50 for about 2 miles S of Eccleshall. A fairly twisty section of A road where, unless you were really pushing it, you would be unlikely to exceed 50 except on a couple of stretches. And, given that police enforcement is likely to be nil, what is the point? The 30 limits through Woodseaves and Sutton, and the 40 through Forton, have been extended beyond what is reasonable, and I'm not sure have always existed at all.
  • A523/A52 Leek - Ashbourne: NSL (60) - 50 (with loads of cameras), and 40 in the two "hamlets" of Winkhill and Swinscoe. The 30 limit through Waterhouses may have been 40 before, I'm not sure. The 50 extends all the way to Derby, although I haven't driven it beyond Ashbourne

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