Welsh 20mph switch can be turning point for road safety, with vital lessons for Scotland

Scotland’s 20mph roll out will be complete by 2025.
A 20mph sign aginst a blue sky

The rollout of a default 20mph speed limit in Wales will be a watershed moment for road safety and provide important lessons for Scotland, says the Scottish Greens Transport spokesperson Mark Ruskell MSP.

Mr Ruskell has led calls for a limit of 20mph in built up areas across Scotland, having brought forward a Members Bill in 2018 to replace the current 30mph default speed limit on restricted roads with a 20mph limit.

The Bute House Agreement between the Scottish Greens and the Scottish Government includes a commitment to expand 20mph in Scotland, with an agreement that “all appropriate roads in built up areas will have a safer speed limit of 20mph by 2025.”

A new study launched this week on the 20mph rollout across the Scottish Borders has shown it achieved around 3mph average speed reduction across rural settlements, with biggest reductions where traffic speeds were high. Previous studies have shown that every 1mph reduction in average speed can result in a 4-6% cut in casualties.

Scottish Greens · 20mph switch can be turning point for road safety, says Mark Ruskell MSP

Mr Ruskell said: “This is a really important step from the Welsh Government and may prove to be a turning point for road safety. 20mph speed limits have been shown without doubt to reduce crashes and to save lives.

“Despite that, sadly we are seeing road safety being weaponised as part of a culture war by the Tories and other reactionary forces who want to stop Low Emission Zones and other measures to make our communities safer and healthier.

“With safer streets we can transform our neighbourhoods. That is why I brought forward my Members Bill in 2018 and why I will be closely following the impact of these changes in Wales.

“We are making important progress here in Scotland, with councils finalising plans to expand 20mph limits across the country. It is important that we learn lessons from the experiences in Wales too and reflect it in our own implementation.

“20mph speed limits are the simplest, quickest and cheapest way to reduce casualties. I’m delighted that they are being rolled out in Wales and that with Scottish Greens in government we’re making it a reality in Scotland.”