Committee updated on Highland 20mph roll-out
A report presented today (Thursday 16 November) at the Environment and Infrastructure Committee provided members with an update on the overall 20mph programme in Highland ahead of a planned public consultation which will be launched in December.
The report included the consideration for reverting some roads or sections of them back to 30mph speed limits. Examples of this include a small number of roads that, whilst meeting the programme assessment criteria provided to us by Transport Scotland, may revert due to a number of factors including road width, use within communities, speed compliance and suitability to self-enforce the new speed limit, thoughts of the local community etc.
Committee Chair, Councillor Ken Gowans said: “I welcome the update on this excellent approach to road safety in the Highlands and this paper lays clear that within the programme timetable we have all along included the potential for a small number of roads to revert to the original speed limit.
“Our approach of bringing the new limit in under a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order was done on the basis that this was to trial the new limits in our communities and where and when required this allows the limit to revert to the original limit. We welcome the feedback and engagement from communities whether it is positive or negative as it supports the decision making on future direction of the programme.
“The upcoming consultation will allow communities to provide further feedback on the 20mph programme and it will provide a platform for them to identify areas they feel support, wish to be included or reverted to the original limit. This will be launched next month, and I would encourage people to make use of this opportunity to engage on this road safety matter.”
Through communications from various members of the local communities and through awareness amongst the programme team, a limited number of roads have been identified as more suitable to reverting to the original 30mph speed limits. This potentially only relates to a small number of roads (likely to be single digits).
The public consultation survey will assess the current scheme extents and gather public feedback on the 20mph speed limit implementation (at this stage this is not full statutory consultation for the Traffic Order – this will come late summer 2024). The survey will allow communities to comment on roads they wish to see assessed for inclusion in the scheme, whether they believe the new reduced limits are benefiting their community and look at whether they think it is appropriate to return certain roads to their original limit.
Councillor Gowans stressed that no decisions have yet been made and nor will they be made before all information and feedback from the public consultation has been gathered and analysed.
The public consultation, which will launch next month, will run for a 6-week period.
Below are some questions and answers about the roll-out
Can roads not currently in the trial be added on request?
Yes – The Road Safety Team will assess any requests for new roads to be included in the programme. Please note requests should be for existing 30mph limits only.
What is the procedure with Trunk Roads being added?
Transport Scotland are responsible for the implementation of the Temporary Road Traffic Regulation Order for the Trunk Road Network (this is now live) and their operating companies BEAR Scotland and Amey are currently installing the signage on the Trunk Roads.
When is earliest we can revert to the previous limits where appropriate?
As per the project timeline, the programme team are looking at the start of next year before any roads may revert back to 30mph. Consideration for reverting some roads or sections of them back to 30mph speed limits has to take into account a number of factors including road width, use within communities, speed compliance and suitability to self-enforce the new speed limit, thoughts of the local community etc.
The public consultation survey, which is due to be launched in December for a 6-week period, is to assess the current scheme extents and obtain public feedback on the 20mph speed limit implementation (the full statutory consultation for the permanent Road Traffic Regulation Order will come late summer 2024). This initial survey will allow communities to comment on roads they wish to see assessed for inclusion in the scheme, whether they believe the new reduced limits are benefiting their community and look at whether they think it is appropriate to return certain roads to their original limit.
No decisions have yet been made on reversion until all information has been gathered and analysed. It is important to note that this potentially only relates to a small number of roads as borne out in the collation of public comments received to date and has to be considered in conjunction with discussions with the funding partner Transport Scotland.
NB – Some of the stretches of roads are part of the trunk road network and this link will help people identify exactly which stretches fall under Bear Scotland or Amey https://www.traffic.gov.scot/trunk-roads