20mph limit to go ahead across Edinburgh

The limit would go into effect across residential areas. Picture: Michelle Logan
The limit would go into effect across residential areas. Picture: Michelle Logan
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NEW 20mph speed limits in residential areas across the Capital have been given the go-ahead amid warnings that they must be enforced if safety is to be improved.

The move follows a successful pilot in the Marchmont, Grange and Prestonfield area.

The city’s transport and environment committee agreed to roll out 20mph limits to all residential streets, main shopping streets, city centre streets, and streets with high levels of pedestrian and/or cyclist 

John Palmer, chair of Grange/Prestonfield community council, told the committee there had been strong local support for the pilot, but people would have liked more streets to be included.

He said the community council had been disappointed Lothian Buses had successfully objected to certain roads being included, claiming bus services would be slowed.

And he said enforcement was essential. Warning letters had been sent out to motorists exceeding the limit. “That did have an impact, but we were concerned the police did not follow it up by fining people,” he added.

“Hopefully, Police Scotland will think about that and the council will work with them on the issue.”

Tory group transport spokeswoman Joanna Mowat asked for a definition of a residential street. She said: “People will say ‘I live here, so it’s a residential street’. It will be interpreted in different ways.”

But transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds promised there would be clear proposals about where the zones should be. She said: “We will come back with maps that will identify exactly where the 20, 30 and 40mph zones would be and then we will have a consultation process.”

The move will make Edinburgh the first city in Scotland to introduce such widespread 20mph limits.

Greens called for a blanket 20mph limit across the whole city. Cllr Hinds said enforcement was always going to be the issue with introducing 20mph zones.

She said CCTV cameras could be used when police resources were stretched.

And she argued educating drivers was one of the most important ways forward.

She said: “We want to encourage drivers to keep their speed down and get used to that, rather than fining people.

“Most drivers know that going at 20mph in a residential area is safer than 30mph. If it takes a few minutes more but it avoids an accident then it’s worth it.”