20mph: lower speed limit for Leven roads agreed despite community backlash

Levenmouth councillors have backed 20mph proposals through Buckhaven and Methil despite community backlash.
20mph speed limits are common place across the country (Pic: TSPL)20mph speed limits are common place across the country (Pic: TSPL)
20mph speed limits are common place across the country (Pic: TSPL)

Community members from Buckhaven and Methil have called the new 20mph proposals “absolutely ridiculous” online and others have said the plans were “obviously conceived” without actually visiting the area. However, Levenmouth Committee Councillors unanimously agreed to promote the new speed limits on Wednesday morning in the name of safety and consistency with the Scottish Government.

“I’m actually in favour of this 20mph blanket approach,” Councillor Eugene Clarke (Lib-Dem for Leven, Kennoway and Largo) said. “There’s a fair point about certain bits where it may not seem appropriate, but I think that’s balanced by the difficulty of having changing speed limits at different stages.”

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He continued: “It’s good to remind ourselves of the reasons for this change. Someone hit by a car travelling at 30mph is five times more likely to sustain serious injuries or death compared to a vehicle travelling at 20mph.”

The proposals are to reduce the speed limit to 20mph on Methilhaven Road, Wellesley Road, Sea Road, Main Street, High Street, Links Drive, Station Road, South Street, and other roads near Methil harbour. Officer from Fife’s roads and transportation services said the proposals were originally considered as part of a local committee request ,but that had been “overtaken” by the Scottish Government’s goal to reduce speed limits in towns, cities and villages to 20mph by the end of 2025.

“We are getting requests for 20mph speed limits in all areas now,” officers explained. “We have got an ongoing traffic order for the whole of St Andrews proposed at 20mph now, which is out for consultation. We’ve just done the A907 through Carnock and the A912 through Falkland, and we have 30 to 40 towns and villages throughout Fife that are all waiting on 20mph speed limits. This proposal is very much in line with the Scottish Government strategy.”

A report explained that all residential areas in Buckhaven and Methil are already 20mph. The A-class roads, some B-class, and roads within industrial estates remain at 30mph – that’s what this proposal is looking to change. Some roads, like Sea Road, in theory could be safely left with a 30mph speed limit, but officers say it will be reduced along with the others for consistency.

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According to the report, the new speed limit is also intended to support active travel schemes being developed as part of the Levenmouth Connectivity Project.

“This is a policy that as an individual councillor I’m willing to go on record to support. I think the quicker we do this the better,” committee convener Colin Davidson said. “If we’re spending millions of pounds in Levelling Up money in the Levenmouth and Kennoway area, we need to be looking to make sure it’s safe for pedestrians and cyclists. The quicker we can roll it out across Levenmouth, the happier I’ll be.”

The committee unanimously agreed to promote the traffic order, meaning that the proposals will now face public scrutiny and consultation.

If there are objections to the proposals, Fife’s Roads and Transportation Services will return to the committee with the consultation results. At that point, councillors will make the final decision.