Mon 11 Sep, 2017

It's clear that there are many communities across Scotland who want lower limits to improve safety, and I would encourage anyone else in such a situation to respond to my consultation before it closes on Friday. MARK RUSKELL MSP

A consultation by Scottish Green MSP Mark Ruskell on his proposed member's bill on reducing the urban speed limit from 30 to 20mph reveals the frustration in communities across Scotland at attempts to cut the speed limit to make local streets safer.

The consultation closes this Friday (15 Sep) and to date almost 2,000 responses have been received. Views have been overwhelmingly positive.

Some of the responses highlight incidents in which children have been knocked down and killed, and long-running campaigns by individuals and community groups who have been bogged down by the current lengthy and costly process of applying for a 20mph zone. 

Responses include:

* "I have been involved in a road safety campaign which had the support of the local council, police, local school, politicians etc but the real stumbling block was that we couldn't change the law which made some of the things we wanted to do impossible. The Council could only make the road outside my house a temporary 20mph zone at the start and end of the school day because it was judged to be a main road despite the fact there are many houses all along it and it is the main walking route to one of the biggest primary schools in Fife." (Anonymous individual)

* "In the town where we live, a 2 year old girl was killed, after being struck by a car. She was walking on a pavement with her siblings when this happened. If there was a 20mph limit this wouldn't have happened. Do not let another innocent child be a victim - something needs to be done quickly. The council have put a 20mph limit in since this happened, but only before and after school times. There is a popular park in this area so it should be 20mph all the time." (Anonymous individual)

* "A pupil from my school was knocked down and killed last year on a road with a speed limit of 30 mph. I wonder if a 20mph speed limit could have given a very different outcome to this tragic accident." (Anonymous individual)

* "We as a village have been trying to get a 20mph speed limit throughout our village for the last 10 years. We have a significant amount of through traffic which causes significant road safety concerns within the village and conflicts with pedestrians and school access. Furthermore, a 20 mph limit would significantly reduce the noise pollution caused by the traffic." (Ardersier and Petty Community Council)

* "We live in a rural hamlet with a road running through the middle. A recent speed monitoring exercise found that upwards of 85% of vehicles going through the village were speeding. The school is on the main through road to Insch and, as we have three small children, our walk to school is along the road on rather narrow pavements. All of the children who attend the school are vulnerable at drop off and pick up times on entering or exiting the main school gate. There have been two accidents in recent months where speed was a contributing factor. Luckily, no-one was hurt but in both cases the force of the impact was such that the vehicles were written off. In one case the force took the car through a neighbour's fence and right up to the wall of her house." (Anonymous individual)

* "I'm the parent of 2 children who were struck by a vehicle travelling fast in a residential area while they were walking to school with their mother. I think the views of my children and all other children in traffic decisions are woefully under-represented. These decisions have direct impacts on the way they live yet they have no input into this process. If you asked children, they would say that they want a 20 mph limit." (Anonymous individual)

* "I have campaigned for the last 5 years in my town, Langholm, for a townwide 20mph limit." (William Telfer)

Mark Ruskell MSP said:

"As a local councillor and as an MSP I have seen first-hand the frustration of communities that want lower speed limits but find the current process overly-complicated. By setting 20 as the default limit we can end this frustration and provide the clarity that residents and motorists deserve.

"It's clear that there are many communities across Scotland who want lower limits to improve safety, and I would encourage anyone else in such a situation to respond to my consultation before it closes on Friday. My proposal already enjoys the support of safety campaigners and health experts, and it's vital that the voice of local communities is also heard."

In addition to individuals and community groups, a number of local authorities have responded. Shetland, Fife, Orkney, Edinburgh and Glasgow are all supportive of the bill's aim, and no councils have said they oppose it.



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