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New 20 mph speed limit in central Edinburgh

Oct 12, 2016
Drivers in the centre of Edinburgh face a £100 fine and three penalty points if they exceed the new 20 mph speed limit, the first phase of which came into force on 31 July covering much of the city centre, from Queen Street to the Meadows.

According to a report on the BBC News website, Lesley Hinds, Edinburgh's transport convener, said, "Slower speeds bring many benefits to the urban environment, making streets more people-friendly, promoting active travel (and thereby improving public health) and reducing the risk and severity of road collisions. The majority of Edinburgh residents support our 20mph scheme and we know that other local authorities in the rest of Scotland are closely monitoring our experience.” 

However, Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Policy and Research Director is unconvinced of the value of the scheme. “It’s a blanket approach. On some streets, 20mph is a speed that you might aspire to rather than need to limit yourself to. But there are others where it looks and feels safer to go over 20, and that’s potentially confusing because drivers take their cue from the environment.” 

“If you look at the evidence, what seems to work is measures like speed bumps and narrower roads. Covering whole areas in one 20mph limit and putting up some signs is a cheap way to do it. We’d rather see investment made in dealing with the streets where there will be the most benefit,” said Neil. 

The rollout of 20mph speed limits across Edinburgh will be carried out in six phases: 

  • Zone One - City Centre and Rural West (South Queensferry, Kirkliston, Ratho, Currie and Balerno) 31 July, 2016 
  • Zone Two - North. Speed limit applies from 28 February, 2017 
  • Zone Three - Three South Central/East. Speed limit applies from 28 February, 2017 
  • Zone Four - North West. Speed limit applies from 31 July, 2017 
  • Zone Five - West. Speed limit applies from 31 July, 2017 
  • Zone Six- South. Speed limit applies from 31 January, 2018 

Photo: Edinburgh city centre street.

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