Ma­jor crack­down on Scot­tish drivers as speed limit to be slashed on roads in ALL built-up ar­eas

Scottish Daily Mail - - Front Page - By Michael Black­ley Scot­tish Po­lit­i­cal Ed­i­tor

MO­TORISTS are fac­ing a speed­ing crack­down with 20mph limits set to be im­posed in built-up ar­eas.

The new law is ex­pected to be forced through next year as one of the most sub­stan­tial changes to scot­land’s roads sys­tem in years.

MSPs want to make 20mph the norm for ev­ery street where peo­ple live, shop or go to school. But road safety ex­perts have crit­i­cised the plan and warned it will bring drivers ‘grind­ing to a halt’.

The leg­is­la­tion, pro­posed by a Green MSP, will be for­mally in­tro­duced at holy­rood in the New year af­ter securing the sup­port of 20 MSPS from the SNP, Greens and Labour, in­clud­ing the par­lia­men­tary aides of Ni­cola stur­geon, John swin­ney and Derek mackay.

City of ed­in­burgh Coun­cil has al­ready

rolled out 20mph zones across the cap­i­tal, in­clud­ing some of its busiest roads.

But the new pro­pos­als by Green MSP Mark Ruskell would re­duce the ‘de­fault’ speed limit from 30mph to 20mph across the coun­try.

Any coun­cil which wanted to re­tain the 30mph limit would have to go through a lengthy and costly ap­pli­ca­tion process.

Si­mon Wil­liams of the RAC said: ‘While we are in favour of 20mph zones, we think coun­cils and MSPs should give care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion be­fore go­ing ahead to in­tro­duce a sin­gle 20mph limit be­cause, with­out en­force­ment and traf­fic calm­ing mea­sures, mo­torists may not pay as close at­ten­tion to it as they should.

‘Some roads are through routes and are more suit­able to 30mph than 20mph be­cause of the na­ture of the road. With a one-size-fits-all ap­proach, the risk is we will end up grind­ing to a halt. Politi­cians have to think very care­fully about re­duc­ing all speed limits on roads in one fell swoop.’

AA head of roads pol­icy Jack Cousens said: ‘We see that 20mph limits can have an impact in some ar­eas. How­ever, if you blan­ket drop them in, they will lose their impact.

‘In and around schools is an ob­vi­ous place to put them – but if there is a blan­ket re­place­ment, the impact is lost.

‘For any pro­posal for 20mph we would want to see res­i­dent con­sul­ta­tion to make sure they are on board. In a shop­ping street, for ex­am­ple, there may be res­i­dents and shop own­ers who say 20mph is a good thing and that’s fine.

‘But in some ur­ban 30mph ar­eas res­i­dents may be quite happy with 30 and that should be re­spected.’

Mr Ruskell will pub­lish a Mem­bers’ Bill in the New Year af­ter con­firm­ing he had se­cured the nec­es­sary sup­port from mem­bers of three par­ties.

A Scot­tish Green spokesman said the leg­is­la­tion would pro­pose a shift to 20mph in all built-up ar­eas ‘where peo­ple live, shop or go to school’.

The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment said it will keep an ‘open mind’ on the is­sue and cur­rently be­lieves de­ci­sions on 20mph zones should be made by lo­cal coun­cils.

But sev­eral prom­i­nent Na­tion­al­ist MSPs have given their sup­port, in­clud­ing Gail Ross, Jenny Gil­ruth and Kate Forbes, the par­lia­men­tary li­ai­son of­fi­cers for First Min­is­ter Miss Stur­geon, Deputy First Min­is­ter Mr Swin­ney and Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Mr Mackay.

Mr Ruskell said: ‘It’s heart­en­ing to see cross-party sup­port for cre­at­ing cleaner, health­ier and safer streets for ev­ery­one in Scot­land. It’s great to have sig­na­tures from MSPs from all over Scot­land, many of them known for their record in cham­pi­oning road safety cam­paigns.

‘The pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on my pro­posed Bill had more than 2,200 re­sponses and over 80 per cent sup­port.’

De­part­ment for Trans­port fig­ures show, that, at 8am, 49 per cent of cars ex­ceed a 30mph speed limit. But this rises to 80 per cent for a 20mph limit.

Scot­tish Tory trans­port spokesman Jamie Greene said: ‘The news that all of Scot­land’s cities might soon be uni­ver­sal 20mph zones will be dis­ap­point­ing for drivers across the coun­try.

‘Not only have slower speed limits been shown to do very lit­tle to tackle conges­tion, they also lead to an in­crease in car­bon diox­ide emis­sions. No one doubts the need for re­stric­tions around sen­si­tive ar­eas such as schools, but blan­ket slow limits like this are non­sen­si­cal.

‘In­stead of go­ing ahead with this fool­ish pro­posal, those push­ing for this should look at the sound ev­i­dence which shows how poorly the 20mph scheme has been re­ceived in the places it is al­ready im­ple­mented, such as Ed­in­burgh.’

A Trans­port Scot­land spokesman said: ‘Given the var­ied na­ture of Scot­land’s ur­ban road net­work and the num­ber of fac­tors which need con­sid­ered when set­ting ap­pro­pri­ate limits, our po­si­tion re­mains that de­ci­sions on 20mph speed limits are best taken at lo­cal au­thor­ity level.

‘The Trans­port Min­is­ter has met Mark Ruskell re­gard­ing his plans to bring for­ward leg­isla­tive pro­pos­als on 20mph speed limits and has said the Gov­ern­ment will con­tinue to keep an open mind and looks for­ward to see­ing the de­tail of any leg­isla­tive pro­pos­als.

‘Our road safety part­ners agreed a com­mit­ment to en­cour­age lo­cal author­i­ties to in­tro­duce 20mph zones or limits in res­i­den­tial ar­eas and places with a high vol­ume of pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists, as set out in our 2015 Good Prac­tice Guide on 20mph speed re­stric­tions.’

‘Politi­cians have to think care­fully’

Slow down: 20mph zone

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