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Community / Town councillor disappointed to see little movement on lowering speed limits

Sound Brae is moving from 40mph to 30mph as part of the trial. Photo: Shetland News

A LERWICK councillor says he is “very disappointed” that a report on trialling lower speed limits at the south end of town and near Gulberwick is not coming in front of elected members anytime soon – claiming it appears to have been “kicked into the long grass”.

Earlier this week Peter Campbell questioned why a report on the matter is not going in front of elected members at the next full Shetland Islands Council meeting on Wednesday (9 September).

He brought up the issue at a meeting of the council’s environment and transport committee on Tuesday.

Plans to temporarily lower the speed limits on Sound Brae in Lerwick and near to Gulberwick were brought to the council by roads staff in July.

But elected members were frustrated that the decision to lower the limits had already been made by officials under delegated authority, with councillors agreeing to defer the report to obtain more information.

Peter Campbell.

When asked by Campbell why the follow-up report was not going to council on 9 September, infrastructure director John Smith told Wednesday’s meeting that it was “probably” his “interference that has shifted the schedule”.

He said there seemed to be a “strong overlap” in active travel activity which is also being progressed by the council.

“I was looking to make sure that we were joined up on that front, and that the interests of road safety and active travel would be considered together,” Smith said.

Committee chairman Ryan Thomson reiterated that it was his request to have the report deferred.

“I’ll take most of the blame on that…but I would still very much be looking for that to be evidence based, when it does come to council,” he said.

Thomson added that he would speak to chief executive Maggie Sandison for clarity on the matter.

Campbell, however, said it was “very disappointing” that the report is not included in the current cycle of meetings.

Speaking at July’s full council, the Lerwick South councillor said his constituents have been keen to see safety measures implemented for some time.

At Tuesday’s environment and transport committee North Mainland member Andrea Manson also made the case for cycle paths or pavements in Hillswick and around the Sparl area of Brae.

She suggested funding around active travel could potentially be used for these type of projects.