Council / Speed limits likely to drop to 20mph in built-up areas, meeting hears

SECTIONS of road in Scotland which currently have a speed limit of 30mph are likely to be reduced to 20mph as part of a national move, Shetland councillors were told on Wednesday.

Shetland Islands Council’s asset and network team leader Neil Hutcheson said the roads department is waiting to hear back from the Scottish Government on the matter.

But he said he is “pretty certain” that change will be made by government officials – “it’s just a matter of time”.

Local Green councillor Alex Armitage said he welcomed the idea, saying that dropping the limit to 20mph greatly reduces the chance of fatalities in collisions.

Hutcheson said there are already a number of build-up areas in Shetland which are 20mph, including parts of Lerwick, Brae and Mossbank.

He said locally the council would have probably undertaken more reductions to 20mph, but it is waiting to hear back from the Scottish Government on its plans.


Hutcheson added that the roads department is undertaking piece of work for the Scottish Government on the implications on reducing 30mph limits to 20mph.

The meeting heard that the proposal relates to roads that are unclassified and with street lights, which are automatically made 30mph.

“Where you see a 30mph sign now that will change to 20 pretty much everywhere,” Hutcheson said.

He added the national move would not affect areas where 30mph limits have been put in place at the request of the council, such as Bigton and Burravoe.

Armitage said he understood that dropping the limit to 20mph in residential areas may be frustrating for some drivers.

“It’s of the order of 10 times safer for people who are sadly victims of road traffic collisions,” he said.

The Shetland South member said speed reductions were a “relatively low cost” way of improving safety.

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He also felt that a risk and perception of road danger was a barrier to more people taking up active travel in Shetland.

There is a UK-wide campaign called ’20’s Plenty For Us’ which was formed in 2007 to push for reduced speed limits where pedestrians and vehicles mix.

Meanwhile committee chair Moraig Lyall welcomed that a 40mph limit on the bridge into Burra has been made permanent, while she also praised the recent work to remove the slip road at the Black Gaet junction.

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