Council rejects 20mph plan for Fife roads

Scottish Government proposal would cost too much to implement and confuse drivers, claim Fife Council.
Scottish Government proposal would cost too much to implement and confuse drivers, claim Fife Council.

A proposal to reduce the speed limit to 20 mph on all restricted roads would confuse drivers, cost too much and not improve safety, Fife Council bosses have claimed.

The local authority has rejected the Scottish Parliament’s proposed Restricted Roads (20 mph speed limit) Scotland Bill, which aims to reduce the general speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph on all urban non A and B class roads across Scotland, saying the Bill could cost the cash strapped council as much as £3m to implement.

Councillors will today (Thursday) meet to agree a formal response to the Scottish Government’s plan, but in a draft response already seen by the Press, the council claims the Bill would “cause a significant amount of disruption, cost and and unnecessary diversion of hard pressed road safety resources away from higher priorities”.

Furthermore, the council adds that without the addition of physical traffic calming measures, which the proposed Bill makes no allowance for, there is “low confidence that Police Scotland could resource the required level of enforcement to sustain the new limits”, thus, the council claims, making the Bill “flawed”.

In a report by Ken Gourlay, head of assets, transportation and environment, he said 
that the Scottish Government’s cost estimate of up to £10m for signage to implement the Bill “significantly underestimates” the cost to Fife alone.

The council’s own estimate suggests it would need between £1.5m and £3m to alter existing road signage with a further £1m for additional improvements.

Fife Council has been introducing 20mph zones in residential areas since 2003 resulting in the majority of Fife’s residential roads now having a speed limit of 20 mph.

Between 2003 and 2014, 499 discrete 20mph zones were introduced which allow the limit to be enforced by the police.

“Previous work in Fife has shown that simply changing the speed limit is not sufficient,” said Mr Gourlay.

“Due to the successful phased introduction of 20mph zones across Fife since 2003, Fife has already achieved most of the benefits of this policy approach.

“Whilst the aims of the Bill are sound, the significant cost incurred will not result in any noticeable change to Fife roads,”

The council has until January 28 to outline its views on the Scottish Government’s proposals.