10,000 people respond to West Lothian 20mph survey

More than 10,000 people have told West Lothian Council what they think about the controversial Spaces for People programme which introduced new 20mph zones.

Stock photo by LISA FERGUSON 09/11/2021
Stock photo by LISA FERGUSON 09/11/2021

The survey will help determine which of the measures, brought in at the height of the 2020 lockdown, will become permanent. And the number of respondents is more than 20 times higher than the 471 who took part in the initial survey put out online by the council before the new measures were introduced.

The temporary measures were set up in West Lothian to support people to walk, cycle or wheel for essential trips and exercise during the pandemic. Funded by the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People programme, measures included reduced 20mph and 40mph speed limits, new cycle lanes, wider footways and parking suspensions.

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They did not prove popular however, with an online petition set up by Whitburn resident Lorenzo Franchitti in the summer of 2020 attracting 5,000 signatures from disgruntled drivers calling for the removal of speed restrictions.

Councillors, who initially backed the introduction of the scheme, revolted when they saw what it entailed and witnessed a deluge of complaints from constituents.

Core to the complaints alongside those about the 20mph zones were the expanded bus bays, pushing bus stops out into the carriageway in town centres and even on narrow village main streets.

A total of 10,261 responses were received to the two-month long consultation, which closed on Monday.

The council spokesperson said: “Thanks everyone who completed the Spaces for People consultation, we appreciate that so many people took the time to share their views.

“The responses are currently being analysed by council officers, and will be part of a report that will be presented to a meeting of the full West Lothian Council in March.”

It will be down to that meeting to decide which of the elements of the programme are made permanent. Any move to make any of the existing temporary 20mph zones permanent would need further public consultation before a decision could be made.