Fife councillors reject plan for 20mph speed limits

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Fife councillors have rejected the Scottish Government’s plan to introduce a new bill which would see speeds on residential roads restricted to 20mph.

They were turned down on the grounds of cost, the time it would take to time to implement – and a general low confidence that the bill would work.

Derek Crowe, senior manager for roads and transportation, told the economy tourism and strategic planning and transportation committee on Thursday that, if fully funded, it would take up to three years to change all the signs and implement changes.

The Scottish Government has allocated just £10m for all 32 local authorities to bring in the changes, and Fife expects its bill to be around £3m.

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Mr Crowe said that if the council was expected to even partially fund the project, it would take more than 10 years to implement, as the local authority “just doesn’t have the money available.”

Fife already has a significant number of 20mph, but all signage and traffic calming measures would would need to be removed.

Concerns were also raised over the effectiveness of the “self policing policy.”

Mr Crowe said: “The concept is to deliver a culture change to driving within Scotland. The idea is that people would self police their speed.

“Evidence shows it doesn’t work – the culture isn’t there. Society is not ready for that step. An example is that we’re still having to do drink driving and drug driving campaigns. Look at how many people still use mobile phones while driving. There hasn’t been a great deal of success.

”We need measures in place to make restrictions self enforcing.”

Convener of the committee, Altany Craik, called the bill an “expensive and unworkable beast”, adding: “It is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. It’s a nice idea, but it’s not beneficial to Fife.”