A21 safety package: speed limit changes


17 Jan 2024

As you drive along the A21, the current speed limits vary. Too many changes and inconsistency in speed limits can be a risk to drivers, and we’ll be making changes along the route for more consistency and to help smooth traffic flow.

A21 safety package: speed limit changes

There’s currently six different speed limits along the route, which range from a variable 20mph speed limit at school start and end times to a 60mph. By bringing consistency to drivers, we’ll create safer and smoother journeys.

Broadly, this means all village locations will become 40mph (apart from Hurst Green, due to the variable 20mph limit for the school) and all non-village locations will become 50mph. This will:

  • Reduce the frequency of speed limit changes
  • Improve the smooth transitions between speed limits
  • Improve the consistency of the speed limits across the route

We understand you might have questions about these changes, and have answered some below:

How have you decided where to change speed limits?

The speed limit changes are a result of extensive assessments and a feasibility study, which considers collision data and the physical environment along the route. Having reviewed the findings, our planned speed limits will match the conditions of the road appropriately.

We recognise changing speed limits alone impacts only on severity and not the likelihood of incidents, which is why we’re rolling out a package of improvements that aims to reduce the risk of accidents with the consequence of making the road safer.

As well as reviewing accident and speed data, our assessments considered the physical environment alongside the route, such as the layout of the road, number of bends and accesses, use and development. The planned speed limits are appropriate for each location and will provide drivers with a consistent message of what is a safe speed when travelling along the A21.

We’ve reviewed the different physical environments along the route extensively before proposing appropriate new speed limits. We also considered that a speed limit set too low can create hazards. For example, if the road does not have the ‘look and feel’ of a low speed environment, drivers are less likely to be compliant. This can result in a mismatch of expectations between those who follow the speed limit and those who don’t, creating an unsafe driving condition.

We’ll be monitoring locations where speed limits have changed, and will collect speed data. We use the Department for Transport (DfT) guidance alongside our safe systems principles, and make any necessary amendments depending on the findings.

We began early engagement with various local communities along the route in 2021. This engagement has continued to date and included the local MP Huw Merriman, several Parish Councils, local schools and statutory stakeholders. We also consulted the Safer Roads team within Sussex Police on the proposed changes in 2021.

The feedback we’ve gathered has helped to shape our overall safety improvement plans for the route.

We’ll continue to engage with all stakeholders as we deliver these changes, and monitor their impact. Visit our website for the latest information, where you can also sign up to email updates.

Visit our website for the latest information about our work to improve safety on the A21. You can also sign up to email updates.

If you have any additional queries about the scheme and its proposals, you can email the project team at A21SafetyPackagescheme@nationalhighways.co.uk or call our 24/7 Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000 who will direct your query to the team.