Council / Slower traffic beckons for Tresta road after speed limit petition

Tresta. Photo: Shetland News

THE SPEED limit on a stretch of road running through Tresta on the Westside is to be lowered to 50mph for an 18-month trial period, SIC councillors agreed on Tuesday.

The decision, which goes against the recommendation of roads officials, was made following last December’s submission of a petition from the local community containing 72 signatures.

A report tabled to the local authority’s environment and transport committee had advocated keeping the speed limit at 60mph in line with national guidelines.

Officials made the recommendation on the basis there had been no fatalities or injuries on that part of the A971 road for over 20 years.

But the residents’ petition stated: “Many cars/vans speed through Tresta at more than 60mph. Even cars going at 60mph can be intimidating and dangerous for pedestrians.

“There have been numerous accounts of cats being killed on this stretch of road. Are we going to wait until a child or an old person is hit and killed? We call upon the council to act before tragedy strikes.”


Roads manager Dave Coupe told councillors it was “difficult to agree” with the suggestion that a 60mph limit was dangerous given no accidents had occurred.

His report pointed out that opting for a 50mph limit would diverge from national guidelines and “contradicts the principle that speed limits should be set consistently”.

Westside councillor Catherine Hughson tabled a motion in favour of a permanent reduction to the speed limit. She said national guidance was “just that – it’s guidance, not policy” and “we should be brave enough to develop local solutions for local problems”.

“What the residents of Tresta are asking us for is at the very heart of community empowerment: local decisions made for best outcomes for local communities.”

Committee chairman Ryan Thomson acknowledged residents’ worries but said he was “a little concerned about a permanent move away from national guidance”.

He tabled an amendment to make the change to 50mph for an initial 18-month period to assess its impact.

The motion and the amendment received four votes apiece, with Thomson then using his chairman’s casting vote to ensure the amendment passed.

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