Facebook group plans protest over 20mph limit

More than 1000 people have already signed a Facebook petition to say they want the planned 20mph speed limits scrapped. Picture: Greg Macvean

More than 1000 people have already signed a Facebook petition to say they want the planned 20mph speed limits scrapped. Picture: Greg Macvean

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a PROTEST march is being planned after thousands of people backed a campaign against the new 20mph limits lined up for many of the Capital’s streets.

Councillors voted to cap speeds in four out of five roads across the city earlier this week.

More than 4000 people have liked the Say No to 20mph page on Facebook in the last four days and organisers are already in talks with police over holding a march or a slow moving motorcade in February.

A petition calling for the plans to be scrapped has attracted more than 1000 signatures.

But despite the crunch council vote, transport leader Lesley Hinds said the final list of streets affected was still open for discussion.

Facebook campaign founder Grant MacCusker, who lives in Leith, said: “It’s just escalated. Facebook is going mad – when I last looked just over 1000 people had signed the petition to say it should be scrapped and put to a public consultation, rather than just councillors saying ‘this is what is happening’.”

Mr MacCusker, an entrepreneur who sits on panels at the Princes Trust and Business Gateway, said slower speeds could hurt independent businesses in the city centre as drivers choose to go to out-of-town shopping centres rather than face congestion.

The 30-year-old added: “The council are just wasting money – everybody seems to be saying you can never get over 20mph on many streets in the city anyway.

“We never got a say on the trams, and look how much it cost us and how much damage it did to business.

“Edinburgh is just a laughing stock to other cities and it’s time we stood up to them and said ‘No, we’re not doing it’.”

Mr MacCusker hopes to take the petition to the council once it reaches 2500 signatures – the same number of people who took part in the council’s consultation.

Tory MSP Cameron Buchanan backed the petition against the 20mph limits, which he condemned as an act of “gesture politics”.

He said: “Who is going to enforce this new limit? The council is so short of money they are not going to be able to do it. It’s just gesture politics. It’s a blanket approach.

“Around 2500 people responded to the council’s consultation on 20mph limits, which in the context of a city of half a million people is not a large sample.

“The most revealing thing was those who did take part were a self-selecting sample.”

But Rod King, founder and director of the 20’s Plenty for Us campaign, said slower speeds would make shopping in the city centre a safer and more pleasant experience.

He said: “Experience shows that it doesn’t mean sitting in traffic, it simply means driving at 20 miles per hour. At the end of the day it’s making the city centre a better place to be.”

A council spokesman said petitions can’t be considered on decisions made in the previous six months.

lizzy.buchan@edinburghnews.com