Cities across Scotland have been urged to introduce 20mph zones, as Edinburgh and Glasgow make historic progress on lowering local limits.
Following publication of Scottish Government guidance on lowering traffic speeds, Edinburgh has this week approved plans that could see 20mph limits on 80% of roads across the city.
New arrangements could come into force in a phased basis from later this year, securing Edinburgh’s bid to become Scotland’s first ‘20mph city’.
Glasgow has also confirmed it is planning to roll out more 20mph zones across the city, outlining locations for what is thought to be the fourth phase of its speed reduction programme. A further 11 locations have been identified for the lower limits, with 54 zones already holding restrictions under 30mph.
Edinburgh’s transport convener Cllr Lesley Hinds said: ‘I'm pleased that committee has given the green light for our 20mph plans. This initiative has been under development for nearly three years and we've carried out a huge amount of public consultation.
‘Each street which is earmarked to become 20mph has been selected based on robust criteria agreed with key stakeholders, including bus companies and Police Scotland.’
The expansion of 20mph zones has prompted numerous campaign groups to urge other cities to follow Edinburgh and Glasgow’s lead, in moves that could see lower limits more widely adopted across Scotland.
Stuart Hay, Head of Living Streets Scotland, said: ‘Edinburgh’s 20mph limit policy sets a positive example for cities across Scotland and the UK. Lower speeds on shopping and residential streets means a safer and more pleasant city for everyone with higher levels of walking and lower levels of accidents.’
National director of Sustrans Scotland, John Lauder, said: ‘Many other towns and cities across Scotland will no doubt be watching Edinburgh closely as implementation of the new 20mph network gets under way. Hopefully they will like what they see and learn from Edinburgh's experience.’
WWF Scotland director Lang Banks added: ‘Edinburgh Council are to be congratulated for this forward-thinking move and we'd encourage other city councils to follow their lead.’
Further south, a number of England’s cities are also considering introduction of 20mph as momentum builds behind the policy.
Birmingham City Council’s cabinet will next week discuss plans for roll out of a second area of widespread 20mph limits in the region. The second ’20 is Plenty’ project has been designed to improve road safety.