Pilot plan for 20mph limit on Scotland’s main roads stalls

IAM RoadSmart said 20mph limits were unlikely to make any difference to road safety. Picture: Neil Hanna
IAM RoadSmart said 20mph limits were unlikely to make any difference to road safety. Picture: Neil Hanna
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Plans to pilot 20mph speed limits on main roads through Scotland’s towns have stalled and some may even be abandoned.

Only one of five trials has been introduced and others have run into problems since being announced in 2013.

The slow progress comes despite Derek Mackay, the then transport minister, calling in February for 20mph limits to be the norm in built-up areas.

The schemes would see limits cut from 30mph on trunk roads at Largs in North Ayrshire, Langholm in Dumfries and Galloway, Oban in Argyll and Bute and Biggar in South Lanarkshire. The first, at Maybole in South Ayrshire, came into force last September.

Transport Scotland said the other schemes have yet to be agreed. Road safety policy team leader Graham Thomson told a conference last week organised by campaigners 20’s Plenty for Us that opinion was split over the Langholm and Largs schemes, and they might not go ahead. The others had still to be resolved with local authorities.

The agency said last year discussions had taken longer than expected because of “numerous questions” raised by local people. Councillors in Largs objected to the plans as “unreasonable”. 20’s Plenty said Transport Scotland was taking the wrong approach in Langholm. Director Rod King said: “If you make the main road 20mph, it makes sense to make all streets the same. There is a mismatch with keeping side roads 30mph.”

Neil Greig, of the IAM RoadSmart motoring group, said: “20mph limits were unlikely to have made any difference to safety or congestion in these towns.”

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “We remain in discussion on the other pilot sites, including fruitful consultation with local communities, and we are considering feedback.

“We expect to engage further with the community in Langholm in due course, where we have also been in discussion with the local authority. We are refining the details of the proposed orders for Oban and Biggar to complement proposals by the local authority and hope to proceed with the promotion of these orders later this year.”