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by Liam Kirkaldy
24 September 2018
Mark Ruskell publishes member’s bill aimed at reducing speed limit to 20mph in built up areas

Image credit: City of Edinburgh Council

Mark Ruskell publishes member’s bill aimed at reducing speed limit to 20mph in built up areas

Green MSP Mark Ruskell has published a new member’s bill aimed at reducing the speed limit to 20mph in built up areas.

The move, which campaigners argue would help improve safety and cut air pollution, has the support of the SNP, Scottish Labour and Scottish Lib Dems, as well as backing from environmental and health groups.

But the Scottish Tories questioned the idea of reducing the default speed limit in urban areas from 30mph to 20mph, describing it as a “ham-fisted approach to the problem”.

Under the plans, local authorities would no longer have to go through an application process to set up a 20mph zone, but would still be able to designate 30mph routes in consultation with communities.

The leaders of both Edinburgh and Glasgow city councils have previously backed the rollout of 20mph zones.

Ruskell 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 making 20 the norm in built-up areas we can end this frustration and provide the clarity that residents and motorists deserve.

“It's clear that a lower limit will mean safer streets, and I'm delighted that my bill enjoys widespread public support, the backing of safety groups, health experts, local authority chiefs and campaigners such as Mark Beaumont. I look forward to it being examined by parliament in the months ahead.”

But Scottish Conservative transport spokesman Jamie Greene MSP said: “The current targeted approach to 20mph zones, with any changes being done in consultation with the public, is still the right way forward.

“It means you can effectively tackle accident black spots and areas such as school gates, and ensure that they are policed properly.

“Adopting blanket 20mph zones is a ham-fisted approach to the problem and is difficult to enforce.

“In addition to the problems it causes for traffic flow and the increased CO2 emissions, we believe there are better ways to make our roads safer.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland air pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna said: “20mph zones make our streets safer and fairer for everyone using them, and are a vital part of the solution to air pollution.

“The faster people drive, the greater the risk of accidents, and the more off-putting it is for people to walk and cycle. Cars dominate our streets far too much already. There needs to be a much more level playing field between pedestrians, cyclists, public transport users and drivers. Slowing traffic is a key way to achieve this.”

She added: “There is also evidence that cars driving faster in built up areas produce more air pollution as they have to frequently speed up and slow down as hazards appear.”

“We hope this Bill will gain support from across the Parliament as we try to cut air pollution and further boost the numbers of people walking and cycling.”

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