New policy details how local speed limits can be introduced

Advice for local communities in how to request a speed limit review is included in the new Speed Limit Policy approved at today’s (Tuesday 8 March) Cabinet.

Members at the Cabinet heard that ‘the speed of vehicles is an important issue for communities that often generates intense local concern and debate, partly because the perception of what is an appropriate safe speed often differs greatly between drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, many of whom live and work in the community.’

Although national speed limits, set by the UK government are applied across the road network local authorities can set ‘local speed limits’ in situations where local needs and considerations deem it desirable for drivers to adopt a speed which is different from the national speed limit.

In 2020/21 as part of the national Spaces for People initiative to support essential travel and exercise while COVID-19 restrictions were in place East Lothian Council introduced temporary 20mph speed limits in towns and villages, and the reduction of speed limits on some inter-urban routes to 40mph to support cycling between towns. As the 18 month temporary traffic orders approach their end a public consultation was carried out to assess local residents and businesses’ views on a range of travel and transport topics including the introduction of the lower speed limits and whether to make any permanent.

Cllr John McMillan, Economic Development and Transportation spokesperson said: “The new Speed Limit Policy approved today has very much been shaped by the views of our local communities. People who live and/or work in our towns and villages are best placed to advise on appropriate speed limits within their communities that reflect the need for safe travel options. The Policy provides clear guidance for future requests to review speed limits and also introduces the concept of ‘Quiet Roads’ within the county.

“Quiet Roads are increasingly being implemented on rural roads across Scotland where traffic volumes and speed limits may already be low and are aimed at encouraging people to travel by foot, by bike and on horseback. The Council will consider proposals to introduce Quiet Roads as part of an active travel network that encourages people to consider walking or cycling for everyday journeys.”

The new Speed Limit Policy can be viewed in Cabinet Agenda papers.

Published: Tuesday, 8th March 2022