Council outlines plans for speed restrictions on city streets which it is hoped will help to curb air pollution
An estimated £2.5 million roll out of 20mph speed limits across Edinburgh has been proposed by the council in a bid to improve safety and reduce air pollution.
Part of the Local Transport Strategy 2014-2019, Edinburgh council has long supported the implementation of 20mph limits with 50% of the city’s residential streets already covered.
And, in August 2013, a successful 20mph pilot scheme was applied to the south of Edinburgh, with increased awareness of walking and cycling safety among residents.
In January this year, the council’s transport and environment committee approved 20mph limits in main shopping streets, in the city centre, or any streets with relatively high levels of pedestrian and cyclist activity.
The proposals are also expected to improve air quality around the city’s road, as well as ‘increase resilience to climate change impacts’ by encouraging more people to make trips on foot or by cycling to their destination.
Members of the public and stakeholders will be consulted on the speed limit changes by the council, with the review process involving a rolling programme of meetings and public road shows in each of Edinburgh’s neighbourhood areas.
Councillor Lesley Hinds, City of Edinburgh council’s transport convener, said: “From our research and consultation with residents we know that there’s widespread support in Edinburgh for a 20mph limit in residential streets, shopping areas and the city centre and we’re currently in the process of drawing up further, detailed consultation processes ahead of introducing reduced speed limits to more areas of the City.
“Lower speeds in residential areas and shopping streets are not just good for safety and environmental reasons. Slower traffic makes streets more attractive to residents, pedestrians, cyclists and children, improves the environment for business and enhances quality of life.â€?
Many English local authorities have already imposed area-wide 20mph limits, notably in Porstmouth, Brighton and Hove and Oxford.
The Square Mile in London is also expected to introduce a 20mph zone this year, after 18 firms including Nero, Deloitte LLP, Jones Lang LaSalle and Pret A Manger signed up to the City of London Corporation’s CityAir scheme in March (see airqualitynews.com story).