MOTORISTS FACE 20 MPH SPEED BLITZ
Major crackdown on Scottish drivers as speed limit to be slashed on roads in ALL built-up areas
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