European city leaders unite in call for the right to set safer speed limits

  • April 25, 2024

Mayors and deputy mayors from cities across Europe have defended the right of local authorities to set appropriate speed limits in a letter published today in the Financial Times newspaper.   

The letter follows central government initiatives in England and Italy that could hamper the power of cities and towns to implement road safety measures such as lower speed limits and traffic enforcement cameras.  Meanwhile in Germany, more than 1000 cities are calling for the right to set local speed limits, a policy that is currently heavily restricted by national rules and only permitted on a case-by-case basis for individual roads.  A similar initiative in Austria was successful, with cities able to set their own speed limits and run enforcement operations from later this year. 

Antonio Avenoso, Executive Director of the European Transport Safety Council, commented:

“Lower speed limits in our cities and towns are a low-cost, no-regret move to improve safety, reduce noise, and encourage walking and cycling.  There is absolutely no good reason to restrict the freedom of local authorities to take such measures.”

André Sobczak, Secretary General of Eurocities – a network of more than 200 large European cities, commented:

“Cities are uniquely positioned to determine what speed limits and traffic measures are needed to keep their roads safe. Restricting their ability to implement those measures puts vulnerable road users at a higher risk. We urge national governments to heed this call from local leaders and empower them to carry out crucial interventions to make their streets safer and healthier.”

Read the letter on the Financial Times website ($).

The letter’s signatories are:

Philippe Close, Mayor, City of Brussels, Belgium

Mathias De Clerq, Mayor, Ghent, Belgium

Filip Watteeuw, Deputy Mayor, Ghent, Belgium

Alison Lowe OBE, Deputy Mayor, West Yorkshire, England

Juhana Vartiainen, Mayor, Helsinki, Finland

Thomas Dienberg, Deputy Mayor, Leipzig & Frauke Burgdorff, Head of Planning, Aachen, Germany
Co-spokespersons for the “Liveable cities through appropriate speeds“ campaign 

Matteo Lepore, Mayor, Bologna, Italy

Dario Nardella, Mayor, Florence, Italy

Arianna Censi, Deputy Mayor, Milan, Italy

Melanie Van der Horst, Deputy Mayor, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Vincent Karremans, Deputy Mayor, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Karin Pleijel, Deputy Mayor, Gothenburg, Sweden

Andréas Schönström, Deputy Mayor, Malmö, Sweden