"Postcode lottery" of road safety across Scotland

Mark Ruskell, Scottish Green MSP for Mid Scotland & Fife, today (12 Feb) published Freedom of Information requests which show a "postcode lottery" of road safety across Scotland.

Councils were asked how many 20mph zones they have. The results show a huge variation, with Clackmannanshire saying all residential streets are 20mph and Edinburgh saying the majority of its streets are 20mph with a further 810 zones planned. By contrast, North Ayrshire Council only has four permanent 20mph zones and Falkirk has none. Neither plans to introduce any new 20mph zones.

Some councils failed to respond to the request.

It is also believed that many of the 20mph zones listed are temporary and only take effect near schools at drop-off and pick-up times.

Green MSP Mark Ruskell said:

"Children and the elderly are being put at uneccessary risk of injury and death by our failure to deliver consistent speed reduction where people live. This postcode lottery of uncompleted patchworks of part time 20 mph zones across our towns is not enough to deliver safe communities. 

"I believe we need to change the law so that 20 rather than 30 mph is the default speed limit in residential areas, and it’s my intention to bring forward a member’s bill in the Scottish Parliament in the coming months to do just that.

“With lower speed limits, you hugely increase the chance of surviving after being hit by a car. By making 20 rather than 30 the default, we can make built-up streets safer. 

"There are stories of frustration from communities across Scotland where reducing speed limits has proved a real struggle, despite the obvious benefits to safety and public health. The pace of change is too slow, so new legislation is needed to make it easier for Councils to reduce speed limits consistently."

Councils were asked how many 20mph zones they have and whether any more are planned. They replied as follows:

Numbers below refer to permanent 20mph zones unless otherwise stated.

Aberdeen City Council – 650 streets.

Aberdeenshire Council (no reply) –  Provided extensive paperwork relating to Traffic Regulation but did not specify how many 20mph zones are in force.

Angus Council (no reply)

Argyll and Bute Council 105 Streets, 9 more planned

Edinburgh City Council Majority of streets covered, 810 more planned

Clackmannanshire Council All Residential Streets covered, don't know if more are planned

Dumfries and Galloway Council Information Not Held 

Dundee City Council (no reply)

East Ayrshire Council Information Not Held

East Dunbartonshire Council 10 Streets covered, no more planned

East Lothian Council 69 streets covered, future zones Not Yet Determined

East Renfrewshire Council (no reply)

Falkirk Council 0 Streets covered, 0 more planned

Fife Council 4804 Streets covered, Information Not Held on future zones

Glasgow City Council 74 areas (205.75km) covered, similar sized areas in coming years

Highland Council 64 Streets covered, Information Not Held on future zones

Inverclyde Council 24 Streets covered, no more planned

Midlothian Council (no reply)

Moray Council 40 streets covered, no more planned

North Ayrshire Council 3 Streets covered, no more planned

North Lanarkshire Council 206 Streets covered, future zones Not Yet Determined

Orkney Islands Council 24 Streets covered, future zones Information Not Held

Perth & Kinross Council 43 Areas covered, no more planned

Renfrewshire Council (no reply)

Scottish Borders Council 79 Streets covered, 1 more planned

Shetland Islands Council 90 Streets covered, 6 more planned

South Ayrshire Council 344 Streets covered, 1 more planned (and all new residential developments required to have 20mph)

South Lanarkshire Council 370 Streets covered, 63 more planned

Stirling Council 725 zones (includes part-time), future zones No decision made

West Dunbartonshire Council 41 Streets covered, no more planned

Western Isles (Comhairle nan Eilean Siar) 29 zones (includes part-time), no more planned

West Lothian Council (no reply)