Councillor Hinds addresses 20mph misconceptions

The following letter from Transport Convener Councillor Lesley Hinds was published in today's Edinburgh Evening News.

Dear Sir,

While there will inevitably be a level of opposition to any such far-reaching proposal as our planned rollout of 20mph limits for Edinburgh, I must put a number of misconceptions to bed so that your readers can be confident they have the full facts. 

You inaccurately state in your piece (“City’s on roads to nowhere”, p4 & 5, Mon 12 Jan 2015) that “almost half’ of the respondents to our consultation last autumn were in favour of the rollout, when in fact the survey found 60% supported or strongly supported the plans.

Claims that this is a “blanket” roll-out are simply untrue. The Council worked painstakingly with key stakeholders, including bus companies and Police Scotland, to develop a robust set of criteria for selecting which streets should change to 20mph and which should remain at 30mph or 40mph.

What we have come up with, again based on the extensive feedback we have had since these plans were first mooted nearly three years ago, is a network of 20mph limits mainly on residential and shopping streets, with a 30 and 40mph network maintained for key arterial routes. 

The legal speed limits on any roads in the Capital are enforced by Police Scotland and this will be no different whether the street is 20, 30 or 40mph. Police will direct their resources to particular problem areas, as they do currently, and drivers caught flouting the limit will face warnings or speeding fines. Additional measures such as Vehicle Activated Signs could also be installed in streets where particularly high numbers of contraventions are detected or reported.

In terms of safety, other cities that have introduced 20mph speed limits have seen reductions in casualties. For example in Portsmouth it is estimated that 20mph limits have lowered road casualties by 8%, while in Warrington there has been a reduction in collisions of 25% in 20mph speed limit areas. Meanwhile evidence from the South Edinburgh pilot area also points to a reduction in casualties (20% to January 2014).

Yours faithfully,
Councillor Lesley Hinds, Transport Convener

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