The new policy lists various criteria for the selection of suitable 20mph zones, including accident data, vehicle speeds, the composition of road users, the function of the route and local community views.
The delegation from Coupar Angus asked the Committee to reject this 'piecemeal' approach, pointing out that until very recently, Coupar Angus had been scheduled to be part of a pilot project in which several towns would become 20mph throughout. The Council had recently dropped the plan on grounds of cost, without consulting residents or elected representatives. This, the delegates suggested, was unacceptable as lives should take priority over financial considerations.
One delegate complained that the new policy only included 20mph 'limits', rather than 20mph 'zones' which are defined as speed limits with additional traffic calming measures such as speed bumps/chicanes.
The delegation cited several reports showing that area-wide 20mph zones greatly improve road safety for pedestrians. For example a report by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents stated the introduction of 20mph zones with additional traffic calming measures in Hull reduced fatal and serious injuries by 90% and child pedestrian casualties by 74%.
It was also pointed out that since 2003, Fife Council had rolled out 20mph zones to almost all residential streets, with some towns at 20mph throughout including the main thoroughfares. The speed limit was self-enforcing, through the use of additional traffic calming measures. Edinburgh was following Fife’s example.
Committee member, Councillor Lewis Simpson from Scone, suggested that if the public wanted 20mph zones, the obvious answer was to make 20mph the default speed in all built-up areas. The Committee rejected this without explaining why, but agreed that the new policy should include the possibility of 20mph zones with additional traffic calming measures.
The delegation presented a petition to the Committee, calling for traffic calming measures around the Larghan Park area of Forfar Road. The petition contained 1097 signatures and 337 comments, concerning the recent tragic accident on Forfar Road in which 2-year-old Harlow Edwards was killed by a speeding driver.
Related article in the Daily Record - 'Coupar Angus residents and family of Harlow Edwards call for more 20mph zones'