DRIVERS are against the idea of blanket 20mph speed limits on urban roads, according to new research.

The study by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) found half of drivers from the UK are against imposing the restrictions.

It comes as 20mph zones are being increasingly introduced in Hampshire.

For the past six years, most of Portsmouth residential areas have had 20mph zones, with speed charity Brake claiming casualty rates have fallen by 22 per cent as a result.

In Southampton, Labour city council bosses introduced a pilot 20mph area in Maybush– and there are calls from the Tories to introduce them across the city.

Elsewhere, regeneration plans are under way which include introducing zones in some roads in Woolston.

Across Hampshire, pilot schemes are being introduced in Cherbourg Road in Eastleigh, Wallington village near Fareham, Hythe and Stanmore.

The IAM research found under a third of motorists are willing to embrace the idea and a fifth are undecided – while male drivers are more likely to be against the idea than female.

Fifty-five per cent of young drivers were against 20mph zones as a speed limit for towns while 34 per cent of older drivers were in favour.

Drivers are very supportive of lower speed limits outside schools though, with ninety-four per cent of respondents agreeing that this would be a good idea.

Areas with high numbers of pedestrians such as parks record 34 per cent in favour, hospitals and shops were the next most popular with 21 per cent of drivers agreeing.

But only eight per cent of respondents opted for 20mph zones near cycle lanes.

Meanwhile, more than three quarters of drivers believe that 20mph speed limits help to increase safety for pedestrians, although only a fifth saw it as a positive advantage for cyclists.

Pollution and noise were not seen as serious benefits.