20mph: Police will carry out spot checks in new Edinburgh zones

The 20mph speed limit has already been rolled out in parts of Edinburgh.  Picture Ian Rutherford
The 20mph speed limit has already been rolled out in parts of Edinburgh. Picture Ian Rutherford
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POlice today warned they will be carrying out “proactive” checks in the the Capital’s new wave of 20mph streets.

At midnight a vast swathe of Edinburgh will take on a new 20mph speed limit, marking the arrival of the city-wide scheme’s second phase. The enforcement of the lower limit has been relatively light since the first zones were created in the city centre and the rural west of the Capital, but police are warning that motorists should not expect a free ride.

Competing demands on officers time mean that the enforcement is not likely to be widespread and regular but spot checks will be carried out.

Chief Inspector Mark Rennie, Police Scotland’s south east area commander, said: “Proactive speeding checks will be conducted within the new zones, with warnings and fines given as appropriate.

“We’ll continue to work with the City of Edinburgh Council to raise awareness of the 20mph zones and enforce the new limits, where operational demands allow.”

The scheme has been championed by the city council as a means of reducing the number of road traffic accidents as well as encouraging more people to walk and cycle around the city.

The project, which is the first of its kind in Scotland, will eventually cover 80 per cent of the city’s streets. Its phased implementation is set to be completed by January next year.

While a host of roads will take on the new limit, a network of key arterial roads across Edinburgh will stay at 30mph and 40mph.

City leaders believe that the scheme has popular public support, although polls carried out by the Evening News suggest opinion is more split.

The first phase came into force on July 31 last year and transport leader councillor Lesley Hinds said at the time: “Slower speeds bring many benefits to the urban environment, making streets more people-friendly, promoting active travel, and thereby improving public health, and reducing the risk and severity of road collisions.

“The majority of Edinburgh residents support our 20mph scheme and we know that other local authorities in the rest of Scotland are closely monitoring our experience.”

A publicity campaign has been pushed across the Capital ahead of tomorrow’s launch with digital adverts, posters and leaflets to remind drivers of the imminent change.

Phase two is the scheme’s largest in terms of construction, which the council’s 20mph team said was an effort to get people used to the idea as smoothly as possible.

In an email to councillors in January, they explained: “The benefit of implementing such a large area at one time is that it begins to establish a “critical mass” of 20mph streets within the city, prior to full completion of the scheme at the end of January 2018, and it is hoped that this will begin to influence driver behaviour at an early stage.”

The council has previously confirmed that speed indicating signs, which display a message thanking drivers for going under the limit, would also be recalibrated to the new 20mph limit.

More information about the new speed limit, and which roads it will affect, can be found on the city council website.