Labour candidate urges 20mph zones be reviewed

Scott Arthur says the priorities listed in his leaflet are based on speaking to around 1500 voters in the ward.
Scott Arthur says the priorities listed in his leaflet are based on speaking to around 1500 voters in the ward.
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A LABOUR candidate in this week’s council elections appears to have broken ranks with his party over the controversial 20mph limit.

Scott Arthur, who is standing in Colinton/Fairmilehead ward, has listed a review of the speed cap among his priorities in a leaflet distributed to homes in the area.

But the council’s Labour leadership confirmed the party’s policy was to press ahead with the roll-out of the 20mph limit and any review would follow implementation.

Dr Arthur, a university lecturer and church elder, said his call for a review was based on speaking to voters in the ward.

But he insisted he was not seeking to halt or delay the new limit.

The 20mph zones for residential and shopping streets were first introduced in the city centre and rural west Edinburgh in July last year and extended to large parts of the Capital in February.

It is due to come into force in the Colinton and Fairmilehead area in the final phase in January next year.

In his leaflet Dr Arthur has a list of six priorities, including childcare, affordable housing and fewer potholes.

Number six is: “A review of the 20mph scheme before it’s implemented in our part of the city.”

Jason Rust, Conservative councillor for Colinton/Fairmilehead, challenged Labour council leader Andrew Burns about Dr Arthur’s leaflet at the full council meeting last week.

Cllr Burns told him there had been no change in Labour’s policy.

Cllr Rust said: “It seems rather disingenuous for a Labour candidate to be claiming to prioritise a review of the 20mph scheme prior to further implementation, given this is Conservative policy and there is no reference at all in Labour’s manifesto to a review of the blanket 20mph policy which the Labour-led council actually introduced.”

But Dr Arthur said: “Since January my campaign team and I have spoken to about 1500 people in the ward.

“Like me they want the roads to be safe for them and their families. Their heart tells them the 20mph zone should work, but they want to be convinced of that.

“All I’m saying is we learn lessons from how it is being implemented and the feedback from the public. I want public meetings where people can come along and have their questions answered.

“I want people to respect this scheme and stick to the limit. If people can be convinced it’s the right thing to do then I think it will work.”

Council chiefs say the lower maximum speed will keep people safer on the roads and encourage more people to travel by bike, foot or public transport.

But critics claim there is little evidence it reduces accidents and say the 
council’s scheme is too broad and includes roads which should be left at 30mph.

Transport convener Lesley Hinds said the administration had made it clear there would be no review until after the scheme had been fully implemented.

On Dr Scott’s leaflet she said: “Obviously he has a view. I’m very clear the council has made a decision.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com