ALMOST two years after York started becoming a 20mph city, not a single motorist has been caught by police breaking the speed limit.

North Yorkshire Police says 'zero drivers' have been stopped at the roadside for exceeding a 20mph limit within York since its introduction, and its 'Safety Camera Team' also had 'zero data,' as it had not done any 20mph enforcement.

Independent councillor Mark Warters, who obtained the statistics through a Freedom of Information request, claimed they showed that City of York Council's spending of £600,000 on 20 mph limits across the city was a 'complete waste of money.'

He claimed it would have been better spent on other matters, such as Police Community Support Officers outside schools and repairs to the city's potholes. He also claimed the limits had been imposed to meet the demands of Labour Cllr Anna Semlyen, who was paid to work as a national campaign manager for the 20’s Plenty For Us organisation.

But Cllr Semlyen said 20mph was the collective policy of the Labour Group of councillors which had appeared in their previous election manifesto, and added: "I’m pleased to be a part of an administration implementing that policy and if Cllr Warters wants to join (Tory group leader) Cllr Chris Steward in personal attacks on me for being effective, then so be it."

Cabinet member David Levene said residential 20mph speed limits were intended to be largely self-enforcing, so actual enforcement of a well-designed scheme was likely to be limited. "The figures Cllr Warters referred to suggest this is indeed the case," he said.

"Julia Mulligan, the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner, has publicly confirmed that 20mph can be enforced in the same way to other speed limits, and North Yorkshire Police has confirmed that it will indeed enforce them."

A council spokeswoman said the speed limits were legal and enforceable, just like all other speed limits in the city, and correctly placed signage meant police could enforce them.

"However as the Department for Transport also suggests, the new limits are most appropriately applied to streets with already low prevailing speeds, such as residential roads (which we have done in York) so would therefore be self-enforcing. Therefore, police enforcement would not be expected beyond what would have already taken place to enforce the previous 30mph limit on these streets."

North Yorkshire Police said it followed guidance by ACPO (the Association of Chief Police Officers) on this issue.

ACPO says services must not unintentionally give the impression police will not enforce the law, adding: "As with all crimes and speed limits, the police will use their discretion when to enforce and how that enforcement might take place."