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Calls for 20mph speed limit in every Inverness city street

By Val Sweeney

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Campaigners have called for 20mph speed limits.
Campaigners have called for 20mph speed limits.

CAMPAIGNERS are calling for a 20mph speed limit to be introduced in all residential streets in Inverness.

Highland Cycle Campaign will launch the move for a blanket policy across the city at a public meeting on Tuesday in a bid to improve safety.

If successful, Inverness would follow Edinburgh, where £2.2 million is being invested in a radical plan to introduce a 20mph limit to more than 80 per cent of the city’s streets. Other places including Portsmouth and Liverpool have introduced similar schemes, while the Scottish Government is also committed to reducing speeds where appropriate.

Tuesday’s meeting at Inverness’s Spectrum Centre will be addressed by Chris Thompson from Edinburgh’s Living Streets group, which has been instrumental in having the policy adopted in the Scottish capital.

Ged Church, chairman of the Highland Cycle Campaign, said: "The aim is to make 20mph the default speed limit in residential and built-up areas, with 30mph being the exception for main urban roads.

Although there may be resistance from some motorists, Mr Church believes in many areas they would not notice much difference, given traffic volumes.

He cited Telford Street where the traffic flow is dictated by traffic lights and roundabouts. He also felt areas such as Black Bridge, which spans the River Ness between Merkinch and the city centre, would benefit.

"The pavement is almost level with the road," he said. "It is two-way traffic there. It is very unpleasant. You get couples walking along with pushchairs and cars going by at 30mph."

He maintained that slower traffic could lead to a more pleasant environment and encourage more people to walk or cycle.

Mr Church stressed that next week’s meeting was intended to generate debate and he hoped city councillors and council officials would give serious consideration to the idea. He acknowledged extensive consultation would be required.

Some residential streets in Inverness already have advisory "20’s plenty" signs, particularly around schools. In Dalneigh these will be replaced next week with a legally enforceable 20mph limit.

Inverness Central councillor Janet Campbell agreed that serious consideration should be given to introducing 20mph enforceable zones in all city neighbourhoods. She felt differing speed limits in the city could be confusing.

"It is a hotch-potch," she said.

"You are in and out of 20mph zones, 20’s plenty areas and 30mph areas.

" To me, it makes total sense to have a 20mph restriction in residential and built-up areas throughout the whole Inverness area.

"If you try driving down a street at 30mph in a residential area you will feel extremely irresponsible especially when there children and elderly people about and animals, too."

Highland Council’s current policy is to introduce 20mph limits limit "where appropriate".

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