Protest march against 20mph limits plan

Eighty per cent of the Capital's streets will be hit with the proposed limit. Picture: Greg Macvean

Eighty per cent of the Capital's streets will be hit with the proposed limit. Picture: Greg Macvean

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A PROTEST march against the proposed 20mph limit to be imposed on many of the Capital’s streets is expected to attract hundreds of people.

Organisers say the march – which will kick off at 10am outside Dynamic Earth on ­February 21 – would call on council chiefs to scrap the ­controversial plans.

Around 80 per cent of the city’s roads are set to be slapped with the new limit under radical plans given the go-ahead by councillors at a meeting in January.

But since then almost 6000 residents have liked the Say No to 20mph page on Facebook, with more than 2700 signing a petition calling for the decision to be reversed.

Facebook campaign founder and march organiser Grant MacCusker, who lives in Leith, said the protest would go through the Cowgate, up into the Grassmarket and finish in King’s Stables Road.

And Edinburgh entertainment store Chaplins Disco are even set to provide a seven-and-a-half-tonne lorry and mobile sound system to front it.

Mr MacCusker said: “We have had a massive response to the petition, with 2700 people signing it – that’s 200 more than the response to the council’s consultation.

“People should come on this march to get the point across that there’s half a million people or so that live in Edinburgh, and only 2500 people were asked if they wanted this.

“It’s not just a few streets, it’s a blanket approach. It’s affected the whole of Edinburgh.”

If more than 500 people turn up to the march, police will close roads along the route between 10am and 11.30am to give protesters a clear path.

Jim Black, owner of Chaplins Disco, insisted he was “very passionate” about making his voice heard.

He said: “The council didn’t consult people. I think the people of Edinburgh need to stand up and be counted.”

Under the council’s plans, all city centre roads are to be covered by the 20mph limit, as well as streets with at least 400 metres of shops and businesses and areas of high-density housing.

But Ian Maxwell, spokesman for Lothian cycling campaign Spokes, insisted the new limit would make streets safer for all road users.

He said: “Our view is that the 20mph limit will be of great benefit throughout the city, as has been shown elsewhere where it has been implemented.”

Councillor Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport convener, said: “Our plans for a 20mph network are the result of extensive research and consultation, and incorporate a number of key arterial routes maintained at 30mph or 40mph.

“Criteria for selecting 
potential 20mph streets were agreed in outline by the council’s transport and environment committee and then fine-tuned by a sub-group of its transport forum, including representatives from a range of interested groups.”