Edinburgh's 20mph speed limits have saved lives. Make sure you have your say about introducing more – Steve Cardownie

Edinburgh Council’s consultation process on its “Speed Limits Review: 20mph and Rural Roads” ends on February 8 next year.

Millions of people now live in local authority areas which accept 20mph as the right speed limit where people live, work or play (Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)
Millions of people now live in local authority areas which accept 20mph as the right speed limit where people live, work or play (Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

As a supporter of 20mph speed limits, I will be interested in the outcome and any measures that are adopted as a result of public feedback.

One of the consultation document’s opening paragraphs reads: “Edinburgh’s streets and rural roads are shared by many people and types of vehicles. We want to make our streets and rural roads safer and more pleasant for all, especially those on foot, on bikes or, particularly on rural lanes, on horseback. Higher traffic speeds can put people off walking and cycling, and accidents tend to be worse at higher speeds.” A sentiment that is impossible to disagree with.

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Edinburgh is not alone in pursuing policies of this nature with many cities throughout the UK operating similar schemes. Indeed, according to 20’s Plenty for Us campaign group, 26 million people in the UK (more than one in three of the population) now live in local authority areas which accept 20mph as the right speed limit where people live, work or play.

Researchers recently found that the number of collisions in Edinburgh in one year, fell by 40 per cent to 367 with 409 fewer casualties – a drop of 39 per cent – after the introduction of the new speed limit. Importantly, fatalities were down by 11 (23 per cent) and serious injuries fell by 33 per cent.

Of course, not all streets or roads are suitable for the lower speed limit and the last thing that this city needs are new traffic measures that cause congestion rather than alleviate it but the roll-out of the new limit in Edinburgh has proved to be a success and is supported by most residents.

Lower speed limits support the aims of the “City Mobility Plan” which seeks to improve “the way residents and visitors can move about and enjoy the city”. Consultation is an integral component of such wide-ranging proposals which is why public feedback on the latest round of proposed initiatives is important to the council.

The council has provided the opportunity for the public to influence matters. It is incumbent upon the council to take any views that are expressed seriously.