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Proposals to cut speed limit to 20mph rejected by MSPs

The Bill sought to make 20mph the default speed limit on residential streets.

Defeated: The Bill was rejected by MSPs.
Defeated: The Bill was rejected by MSPs. PA

MSPs have voted to reject proposals to reduce the speed limit on restricted roads in Scotland from 30mph to 20mph.

On Thursday afternoon at Holyrood, the Restricted Roads (20mph Speed Limit) (Scotland) Bill was defeated at stage one by 26 to 83, with four abstentions.

The Scottish Green Party has accused the Scottish Government of joining forces with the Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Liberal Democrats to reject the Bill.

'Today the Scottish Government have joined forces with the Tories and Lib Dems to block a Bill which would have saved lives.'
Scottish Green MSP Mark Ruskell

Scottish Green MSP Mark Ruskell, who introduced the Bill, said: "Today the Scottish Government have joined forces with the Tories and Lib Dems to block a Bill which would have saved lives.

"It would have made our streets safer for children to play in, it would have made them cleaner and it would have promoted walking and cycling.

"It had the backing of councils, health organisations and the public.

"Despite all that, the Scottish Government have acquiesced to the demands of the motoring lobby and voted to maintain a postcode lottery of road safety which puts lives at risk.

"Ministers claim they want Scotland to be the best place in the world for children to grow up.

"Having rejected this Bill they must now make clear what action they will take to make that ambition a reality or be exposed as peddlers of empty promises."

Colin Smyth MSP, Scottish Labour transport spokesperson, added: "This is a setback to the safety of Scotland's children and an opportunity to save lives has been lost.

"The Scottish Government need to show the same leadership as the Welsh Labour Government; commit to 20mph and bring forward their own proposals to make our streets safer."

'No one could be against a Bill designed to reduce death and serious injury on our roads, but this Bill did not do what it said on the tin.'
Mike Rumbles MSP, Scottish Lib Dem transport spokesperson

The Bill had been under consideration by the Scottish Parliament's Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee.

However in its report, the committee concluded that although it approved of the general aims of the Bill, it could not recommend a "one size fits all" policy for lowering speed limits.

Transport secretary Michael Matheson told MSPs that the Scottish Government was supportive of efforts to create safer roads, but stated his preference for council to be able to make their own decisions on where to adopt lower limits, rather than setting it nationally.

He said: "Both the Government and COSLA remain supportive of creating safer roads for all road users, but this must be achieved through identifying alternative, more flexible ways of widening the implementation of 20mph zones and speed limits in Scotland.

"Therefore, we are taking forward a range of work with our partners to identify more straight forward, efficient, effective procedures for local authorities in order to encourage wider use of 20mph speed limits."

Following the vote, Scottish Lib Dem transport spokesperson Mike Rumbles MSP said: "Edinburgh Council have achieved all that they wish to achieve with their 20mph zones and they have done this under already existing legislation.

"In our rural communities many people want to see the speed limits on our A and B class roads running through our villages reduced to 20mph.

"This Bill did not do that, instead focusing only on minor roads and imposing significant costs on local authorities, undermining work that would be more effective at reducing casualties.

"No one could be against a Bill designed to reduce death and serious injury on our roads, but this Bill did not do what it said on the tin."

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