Scottish 20mph Default Moves Closer

The first Scottish 20mph Conference moved the debate forward on a National 20mph limit.  20mph was clearly popular amongst delegates from many Traffic Authorities with 95% “favouring a national default limit of 20mph”. Conference-goers agreed 20’s Plenty. The Scottish Government can lead on a 20mph default for built up areas as this is the best value for money in raising everyday road safety and liveability.  

The City of Edinburgh Council hosted the first 20mph conference focussing on Scotland on Wednesday 8th June. The capital is celebrating the roll-out of it’s default 20mph limit from 31 July for over 80% of its roads.

Transport Scotland sponsored the event by offering a free delegate place to each of the 32 Scottish Traffic Authorities. There were over 80 attendees from across the UK and Ireland.

Acknowledged experts laid out the 20mph facts as a win-win-win for people, health, traffic levels, the economy and environment. Wide area 20mph limits with signs and lines and without traffic calming were shown as great value for money in the short term and into the future.

A packed Council Chamber of councillors, transport and health professionals agreed that 20mph is the right urban limit.  At the end of the conference after hearing the presentations there was near unanimous support favouring a national 20mph default limit for Scotland. The clear consensus was that 20’s Plenty. 

Rod King MBE, Director of 20’s Plenty for Us, led the call for Scottish Minister for Transport Humza Yousaf to announce his support for 20mph and a plan to bring in a Scottish 20mph default limit to replace 30mph. Local Traffic Authorities would be free to make exceptions that would remain at 30mph.

20mph limits is proven to prevent casualties and make people feel safer.  Case studies from Edinburgh, Cardiff, Bristol, Warrington and Liverpool all proved that support for 20mph is strong and rises after implementation. Results show that two thirds of drivers think 20mph limits are good idea.  60% of residents thought 20mph had provided a safer environment. Three quarters of people felt that 20mph limits benefited their community.  20% fewer casualties is typical[1].

Medical experts are certain that 20mph limits increase public health and exercise levels. 20mph maximum speeds support healthier, active lifestyles to combat obesity, heart disease, respiratory disease, loneliness, mental health issues like stress and anxiety as well as reduce the number and severity of road crashes.

A National limit change is far better value for money than asking each cash-strapped authority to change their own road signs on the, perhaps 90% of, roads going 20mph.  Traffic Regulation Order legal costs would be minimal. Less money would be required for public consultations on exceptions to 20mph. A Scottish limit change maximizes the potential for successful engagement with national marketing – eg TV ads. 

Rod King MBE, Founder of 20’s Plenty for Us said:-  

“20mph is proven as the right speed limit where people mix with motor traffic.  By setting a default limit of 20mph for “restricted” (lighted) roads then Scotland can benefit from all the experience already gained in the UK on 20mph limits. These can be delivered to Scottish communities in a cost effective and administratively efficient manner by using its devolved powers to protect its people and raise their everyday quality of life. We urge the Scottish Government to do the right thing and announce 20’s Plenty where people live, work, shop and learn”

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