Living Streets Scotland, part of the UK charity for everyday walking has joined with Ramblers Scotland to submit evidence to Scottish Parliament calling for a national default speed limit of 20mph.

The charities’ evidence states that the existing approach to creating 20mph streets by exception is back to front; instead they want to see 30mph limits as the exception.

Stuart Hay, Director, Living Streets Scotland gave evidence on the matter to the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee today (Wednesday 6 February).

Stuart Hay comments:

“20mph is currently the default in some - but not all - local authority areas. This inconsistent approach is confusing for drivers and makes education on speed more challenging.

“There is strong evidence that any reduction in average and maximum speeds in urban areas will save lives, with speed being the critical factor in relation to stopping distances in a collision.

“Changing a limit that was established in the 1930s to better reflect modern evidence on the relationship between speed and casualty levels can’t come soon enough. In 2017, no one died in 20mph limit whereas the majority of pedestrian deaths and serious injuries occur in 30mph areas.

“It’s time to extend 20mph to protect children on their entire walk to school, rather than just some geographical areas beside school buildings at limited times. This safe network of streets should be part of plan to meet national targets on physical activity”

The Scottish Government has aspirations to increase levels of physical activity. Evidence from the pilot phase of 20mph neighbourhoods in Edinburgh saw examples of people changing behaviour to become more active in response to safer streets.

Helen Todd, campaigns and policy manager, Ramblers Scotland said:

“Making 20mph the default urban speed limit would boost safety and air quality, help create a more active population and align Scotland to international best practice.

“We call upon the Scottish Parliament to grasp this opportunity to make walking and cycling more attractive options for everyone, including the 30% of Scottish households that don’t have access to a car.”

20mph limits