20mph poll divides opinion among Edinburgh residents

Have your say

THE debate over the city’s 20mph zone roll-out is certainly stirring passions.

An opinion poll on our website sparked one of the biggest responses we have ever seen, while the topic has also been one of the hottest in our Letters to the Editor mailbag.

More than 21,000 votes have been cast in our online poll, in which we asked: “Do you support the city’s programme to roll-out 20mph zones across Edinburgh?”

At the time of writing, the overall results suggest that around two-thirds of people (65 per cent) are behind the changes with the remaining 35 per cent against. However, there were unusual voting patterns which we have to take into account.

During the first 36 hours, voting returned a result of around two-to-one against. Even this marked a drop from our previous polls in January, 2025, and December last year, which both returned 83 per cent against and only 17 per cent in favour. Around 6000 people voted last time.

There was then a period of around 48 hours in which the pattern turned completely on its head. More than 10,000 votes were logged with ten to one in favour. Voting then returned to a similar pattern as before.

Launch of the 20mph zones in Edinburgh city centre. Picture: TSPL

Launch of the 20mph zones in Edinburgh city centre. Picture: TSPL

It is clearly difficult to draw any firm conclusions other than recognise that there is both significant support and opposition to the move.

The most likely explanation is that there was some kind of co-ordinated attempt to drum up votes. The cycling group Spokes was encouraging people on social media to vote, perfectly legitimately of course, and this may have been one factor, with many cyclists being keen supporters...

Ian Maxwell, of Spokes, said he was encouraged by the result. He said: “20mph is something which people often get very heated up about but it’s a fairly minimal change and a lot of it is about attitude over longer periods. It looks like things are going in the right direction.”

But Nick Cook, the Tories’ transport spokesman on the council, remained unconvinced. He said: “The rollout should be halted and the scheme subject to a full review.”