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Scottish Borders to trial blanket 20mph

Speed Limits

21 September 2020

Scottish Borders Council is to cut the speed limit on all of its 30mph roads to 20mph as an 18-month trial funded by Covid-19 grant from the Scottish Government. 

The council has identified 80 settlements with 30mph limits and says converting the limits to 20mph is likely to cost about £600,000. The work will be funded from the council’s £1.2m Spaces for People grant award for temporary traffic measures during Covid-19. The Scottish Government grant is administered by active travel charity Sustrans.  

The lower limits will be introduced using a temporary Traffic Regulation Order. Trunk roads with 30mph speed limits will not be affected – Scottish Borders says Transport Scotland is conducting its own research into implementing 20mph on these roads.

Martin Joyce, Scottish Borders Council’s service director for assets and infrastructure, told councillors: “There is a risk that there will be a vocal minority who believe that being asked to slow down by 10mph is unacceptable and social media will likely be busy initially; however, as schemes bed-in acceptance is expected to be generally forthcoming.”

The effect of the 20mph limits will be monitored and a report 12 months after implementation will make suggestions about which limits “if any to retain, and which to remove, again, if any”. 

The remainder of the trial will be used to implement any permanent changes. 

The council is to commission Edinburgh Napier University’s Transport Research Institute to evaluate the project. 

Joyce acknowledged that Police Scotland has reservations about the programme. “Although Police Scotland are not fully supportive of a regionwide blanket roll-out, they will continue to monitor and enforce as and where necessary as already happens within 30mph speed limits. 

“Where observed non-compliance occurs on 20mph speed limit roads they will take action, but are unlikely to undertake routine checks.”

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