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Council / Proposals to introduce more 20mph speed limits in Lerwick residential areas

PUBLIC meetings are set to be held in the coming weeks over plans to reduce the speed limit in some built-up residential areas of Lerwick from 30mph to 20mph.

It comes after the Scottish Government dropped plans to introduce legislation on reducing limits in built up areas by 2025, and instead put the onus on councils to introduce 20mph limits.

Other areas of Shetland are also in consideration, including Scalloway and Mossbank.

Shetland Islands Council’s roads manager Neil Hutcheson gave a presentation to a meeting of Lerwick Community Council on Monday evening about the plans for the town.

The proposal is to drop the limit from 30mph to 20mph in areas such as Haldane Burgess Crescent, the rest of Gilbertson Road, Hoofields, Westerloch and Quoys.

It would bring them in line with some other built-up parts of Lerwick that are already 20mph, such as Sandveien and Breiwick Road.

The roads in red are the ones under consideration for being reduced to 20mph. Image: SIC
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Hutcheson said the aim is to hold meetings around Lerwick to gauge views on the proposals, with the first potentially taking place at the end of June.

There would then be formal consultation through the traffic regulation order process.

Hutcheson said it reflects the move towards more 20mph limits down south, and “makes sense for pedestrian safety”.

He said it might also encourage more folk to walk and cycle.

Hutcheson explained that the Scottish Government was looking at restricted roads – unclassified roads with streetlights which are automatically 30mph – and bringing them down to 20mph.

If the government had pressed ahead with legislation this would have meant most roads in Lerwick would have dropped to 20mph.

Hutcheson said at the end of last year the government backed out of its plans to legislate and instead wanted councils to introduce the 20mph limits through the usual traffic regulation order route.

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The roads manager explained that the SIC had already been planning 20mph limits in built-up areas in Lerwick but held back while awaiting news on the possible legislation.

He said one message from the Lerwick Community Council meeting was whether areas like Market Street and St Olaf Street should be reduced to 20mph because they predominantly feature housing.

“You want a bit of balance between people’s ability get around efficiently, and safety,” Hutcheson added.

There are also plans to consider whether more roads in Lerwick should be 20mph as part of a “phase two” – but community consultation is key.

“There’s a discussion to be had about how far we want to go with the 20s,” Hutcheson said, but added that if the community is not for it then “it’s not something we’ll push”.

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