A Highland councillor has claimed that plans for 20mph speed limits across the north, which he says would save lives, and curb countless accidents, have been sidelined.
The proposal to debate a blanket speed reduction as part of a Members Bill proposed in the Scottish Parliament, was finalised in September, but Bill Lobban believes it has been “kicked into the long grass”.
The bill brought forward by Mark Ruskell MSP aims to replace the current 30mph default speed limit on restricted roads, with a 20mph limit. But no time has been allocated in parliament as yet to debate it.
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Mr Lobban, who lives in Aviemore, insists that people in villages and towns are constantly subjected to thousands of vehicle movements through their streets at the upper end of the 30mph limit.
He has no doubt a speed reduction could make these communities better places to live and work.
Mr Lobban, the convenor of Highland Council, said: “What we need is a blanket 20 mph speed limit through the towns and villages of the Highlands and Islands.
“Research has shown this would only add a few seconds onto a journey, and ultimately it would save lives, and make people feel more confident about walking on pavements alongside the traffic.
“There has been a Members Bill making its way through the Scottish Parliament that has debated reducing speeds – but at the moment this has been kicked into the long grass, the long Serengeti Grass.
“If our politicians in parliament advocated for a 20mph speed limit, then it would happen, but at the moment, that hasn’t been happening.
“It would cost very little to implement a 20mph speed limit – all it needs is a Road Traffic Order and can you imagine the difference it would make.
“Until something happens, people will continue to speed through the Highlands.”
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: “We are clear that 20 mph speed limits are a good idea when implemented in the right environment.
“Given the varied nature of Scotland’s urban road network and the number of factors which need considered when setting appropriate limits, we believe decisions on 20mph speed limits are best taken at the local authority level.
“The Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity met with Mark Ruskell MSP regarding his plans to bring forward a Member’s Bill on 20mph speed limits.
“He provided his reassurance that he will keep an open mind going forward and indicated that he welcomes discussion of the merits or otherwise of these proposals.”