Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

20mph speed limit for Edinburgh passed by councillors

20mph sign Image copyright other
Image caption Details of cost, sign posting, and enforcement of the scheme are due in a report in March

Councillors have passed plans for more than 80% of Edinburgh's roads, including the whole of the city centre, to have a 20mph (32kmph) speed limit.

Details of the cost, sign posting, and enforcement are due in a report in March.

Work on the scheme is due to begin later this year with it being completed over three financial years.

The plans were approved by members of the council's transport and environment committee.

About 25 miles of Edinburgh's roads, from Arthur's Seat to Blackford Hill, are already covered by a 20mph limit.

The scheme is designed to improve safety and encourage more people to walk or cycle.

'Green light'

Environmental campaigners welcomed the move but some cautioned that more needs to be done to tackle air pollution and encourage active transport.

The local authority said the new arrangements will come into effect on a phased basis from the end of the year onwards, provided the necessary speed limit orders are secured.

Limits of 30mph and 40mph will be maintained on key arterial routes in the city.

Transport convener Lesley Hinds said: "I'm pleased that committee has today 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.

"The most recent and most extensive consultation last autumn found that 60% of respondents were supportive or strongly supportive of our proposals."

Friends of the Earth Scotland's air pollution campaigner Emilia Hanna said: "We welcome Edinburgh Council's decision to introduce 20mph zones across the city.

"20mph zones will create safer, more attractive and more enjoyable streets for everyone. They will encourage more cycling and walking and help to fight dangerous air pollution.

"One of the biggest barriers to walking and cycling is fear of speeding traffic, so 20mph zones, if accompanied by greater investment in active travel infrastructure, could transform how people move around the city."

'Follow their lead'

Figures released by the charity at the weekend showed that some streets in Edinburgh are still breaking Scottish and European standards for clean air.

It said 20mph zones can lead to traffic flowing more smoothly, cutting down on the acceleration and braking which causes emissions.

Ms Hanna added: "Traffic fumes in urban areas are the main source of air pollution.

"Breathing in polluted air increases your chances of having a heart attack, a stroke or developing cancer.

"20mph zones are just one of several measures which the council needs to introduce to tackle air pollution."

WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: "As well as helping to cut polluting emissions from cars, this initiative could encourage more people to consider cycling and walking in the city.

"Edinburgh Council are to be congratulated for this forward-thinking move and we'd encourage other city councils to follow their lead."

Stuart Hay, head of campaign charity Living Streets Scotland, said: "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.

"Living Streets looks forward to working with the council to promote the scheme and its benefits as it is rolled out."

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