Policy and advocacy work for safe and welcoming streets in Scotland
We campaign for better policies for walking and wheeling to help create safer and more welcoming streets.
We call for action on footway parking and for more 20mph speed limits in places where we live, work and go to school. An overview of our work on pavement parking, 20mph speed limits, 20-minute neighbourhoods and inclusive design is below.
Scotland made history in 2019 by introducing a nationwide ban on pavement parking. This is a culmination of our work with partners and support from our members.
It means that people in wheelchairs, families with pushchairs and older people who are currently forced into oncoming traffic when faced with vehicles blocking their path will now be able to enjoy a new freedom. It also stands to offer huge savings to cash-strapped councils currently faced with fixing footways damaged by vehicles parking on them.
What’s happening now?
We have written to local authorities in Scotland asking them to implement the ban properly when it comes into force on 11 December 2023, following concerns that some councils plan mass exemptions and have limited plans for enforcement. You can read more about that here.
We have been working to ensure the ban is fit for purpose and have urged the Scottish Government to:
- Keep to the deadline for bringing the law into force no later than the end of 2023
- Provide strong guidance that prevents councils exempting any street from the ban where this would have a negative impact on disabled people
- Develop a powerful publicity campaign and behaviour change programme aimed at drivers that supports the ban coming into force
- Ensure every council has the capacity to enforce the ban and respond to reports of pavement parking
- Commit to monitoring the impact of the ban including baseline studies of streets and public opinions
The implementation was delayed by Covid-19’s impact of local government’s transport departments, which prevented councils surveying streets to determine where exemptions might be justified.
Guidance on how local authorities should implement the ban is still being drafted by the Scottish Government's Road Policy Team and we are working closely to ensure they get it right.
The Government consultation on pre-implementation directions and regulations for local authorities closed in March 2022. And while we are reassured to learn that any exemptions to the ban will have to be accompanied by an Equality Impact Assessment, we are keeping a close eye on proceedings.
20mph speed limits
We need more 20mph speed limits to create safer streets, and more vibrant communities where people live, work and shop.
Someone hit at 30mph is nearly five times more likely to die than if they are struck at 30mph.
Increasingly, communities across Scotland are concerned about the speed of traffic in their streets.
Communities like Dunbar in East Lothian have campaigned effectively for a 20mph limit in most of their town, with the local authority who worked with them to make this happen - read more on our communities page.
We have also supported councils such as Edinburgh to make the switch to 20mph, and this has already reduced road casualties.
Wales recently became the first nation in the UK to set a default speed limit of 20mph in residential areas, we want Scotland to follow their lead meeting the commitment to do so by the end of 2025. However, this will need councils and the Scottish Government to work closely together to make the changes needed at community level.
20-minute neighbourhoods are neighbourhoods where people can find most of their daily and weekly needs within a short walk of their home, and readily available public transport to reach the rest.
Scottish Government has made this approach a priority in their proposed new National Planning Framework, and it is being put in place in different ways across the world.
We worked on a Scottish Government funded project in North Lanarkshire, Stirling and Dunblane to develop plans for how specific neighbourhoods could move towards becoming 20-minute neighbourhoods. We looked at what people want, why they do and don’t want certain activities locally, and what would need to change.
Safe and inclusive street design
Living Streets secured funding from Transport Scotland and the Department for Transport to study changes to streets associated with new active travel infrastructure.
The research project saw us working with highway authorities, road users, disabled people and the organisations that represent them to consider how well existing guidance works for different road users and provide advice on where it can be strengthened to help meet everyone’s needs.
The reports are due out in autumn/winter 2023.