A CONTROVERSIAL new 20mph speed limit has come into force in Winchester city centre.

The new 20mph zone roughly follows the old Roman walls around the city centre and reaches parts of Hyde.

Reducing the limit from 30mph, one of the city's biggest traffic decisions in years, is designed to reduce carbon emissions and encourage more people to walk or cycle to work.

Roundel road markings are in place and signs are due to be completed next month.

County councillor Seán Woodward, Executive Member for Economy, Transport & Environment, said the limit had “very widespread support” from police, Winchester City Council, local county councillors and the public.

Daily Echo: Winchester city centre 20mph zone: have your say

He said: “What we're not trying to do is catch motorists out with the speed limits. It's about trying to change the way Winchester city centre feels to people.”

“The scheme will be finished by the end of September,” he added.

“There aren't speed guns on the roads yet.”

Plans to impose the limit were confirmed by city councillors in April.

At the meeting, opponents of the scheme raised concerns that 20mph limits elsewhere had not reduced speeding.

Peter Grant, chairman of the St Swithun Street and Symonds Street resident's association, said: “We have already had experience of the 20mph limits. It was introduced in 2012 and it had a shocking increase in speeding of five times. That is such an incredible increase that we have to stop and take recognition of it.

“Unless this is enforced, frankly, you are all wasting your money. Maybe it will make you feel better but there's no evidence it will help.”

Speed limits have already been reduced in Stanmore, Winnall and Highcliffe after successful pilot schemes.

Winchester City Council is executing the plans on behalf of the county council, who have discussed the new limit for over a decade.

Portsmouth became the first city in the UK to introduce a 20mph limit in 2006.