20’s Plenty for Us response to the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee (RECC) stage 1 report on the Restricted Roads (20 mph speed limit) (Scotland) Bill

20’s Plenty are dismayed with the RECC report[1]. The views are illogical, innumerate and deeply flawed. They show a shocking disregard for protecting the lives of vulnerable road users and promoting active travel.  


[1] https://digitalpublications.parliament.scot/Committees/Report/REC/2019/5/31/Stage-1-Report-on-the-Restricted-Roads--20-mph-Speed-Limit---Scotland--Bill

  • The RECC state “the majority view of the Committee is that the default, 'one-size-fits all' approach proposed in the Bill is not appropriate, as it would not give local authorities the flexibility to devise 20mph limits that they consider appropriate.”

20’s Plenty for Us responds that this statement’s premise is factually untrue. The Bill specifically excludes A & B class roads from changes and the Bill has flexibility for Local Councils to exempt any Restricted U and C class roads back to 30mph.   It is not a ‘one-size-fits all’ approach. We contest this is a flawed and fatuous reason because it fundamentally misunderstands and misrepresents the Bill which aims at safer 20mph limits for the majority of residential (minor roads) not “all roads”.

Further, the current 30mph default is a ‘one-size-fits all’ which isn’t fit for purpose because it fails public health, equality, the climate and isn’t popular - 71% of the public reply that they want default 20mph limits.

We agree with the three members of the Committee who dissented. They correctly stated that the current inconsistent use of 20 mph speed limits is confusing and undermines road safety.

  • The RECC “is of the view that the estimated costs and savings associated with the Bill proposals are not robust”.

20’s Plenty for Us say cost issues for an incredibly cost-effective policy are a smokescreen for political will.  For £11m a year for 2 years (0.75% of transport funding), even if it was 50% more (£33m total), the Bill’s Financial Memorandum said casualties prevented (8-14% fewer /335-587 people pa) were £20.5m - £36.1m pa in savings - forever.  Refusal due to cost is fallacious!  20mph limits have been proven cost effective elsewhere. Bristol[1] prevents £15m of casualties pa with 20mph limits for £2.7m. For a country with a 2019 transport budget[2] of £2.5bn including £883m spending on Motorway and Trunk Roads and only £2.9m for road safety we find it deeply disturbing for it to be quibbling about spending £20m or even £33m on a 20mph roll-out to protect pedestrians and cyclists.

20’s Plenty respond to Scottish Government Rhetoric in statements by Michael Matheson MSP, Transport Minister at http://www.20splenty.org/we_reply_to_scots_gov 

We ask exactly what is at the heart of the matter with 20mph? Evidence, political will, siding with the motoring lobby or a lack of vision? It’s time for the Scottish Government to sort out how it can bring the 21st century best practice of a 20mph limit where people live, play, learn, work and shop.

[1] http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/34851/7/BRITE%20Bristol%2020mph%20limit%20evaluation%20report_20July18update.pdf

[2] https://tinyurl.com/scot-2019-budget

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