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Council chiefs are backing a new 20mph speed limit proposal for roads in the villages on Arran and in towns across North Ayrshire after MSP Mark Russell introduced a bill for the speed restriction across the whole of Scotland last year.
North Ayrshire Council has issued a draft response on how the plan should be rolled out in an effort to make roads safer for pedestrians and drivers, especially in residential areas.
Officials support the bill but are concerned about having to pay for the new signage and road markings and they want the Scottish government to meet the costs.
The draft response to the bill states: ‘North Ayrshire Council supports a reduction from 30mph to 20mph, providing adequate time and adequate additional finances are made available to local authorities to cover the costs associated with the introduction of the new speed limits.’
‘Sufficient finances should also be made available to meet the anticipated demands for the provision of additional traffic calming measures.’
The Scottish Government estimate it would cost about £21 to £22 million for signage and road markings for all councils in Scotland and that it would take three years to implement the changes.
Officers predict speeding complaints would shoot up if the bill were made into law and extra traffic calming measures would be needed. They also called for Police Scotland to take additional action to make sure drivers slow down to 20mph to comply with the new law.
Commenting on child safety, the draft response adds: ‘North Ayrshire Council supports the introduction of the speed reduction to improve road safety in deprived areas where studies have shown child casualties are higher than in comparable less deprived areas.’
In a trial of setting a 20mph speed limit Fife Council reported a 20 per cent reduction in injuries and deaths on the roads.
West of Scotland MSP Jamie Greene intends to meet with council officials in the near future to discuss the issue in more detail.
He said: ‘Currently there is no evidence to suggest that reducing the default speed limit to 20mph improves road safety. Slowing down traffic to unreasonable levels could lead to an increase in pollution and driver frustration.
‘If passed, this bill would penalise law-abiding motorists and could significantly impact congestion in North Ayrshire. Improving road safety is important and there are clear steps we should take to address this however grinding North Ayrshire to a halt could have profound consequences for our communities.’