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Highland drivers urged to support new 20mph limits, as reduced speeds roll-out begins

By Philip Murray

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Councillor Ken Gowans the 'very real safety benefits' will be felt by the 121 communities.
Councillor Ken Gowans the 'very real safety benefits' will be felt by the 121 communities.

NEW reduced 20mph speed limits in villages and towns across the Highlands will save lives if drivers stick to them, a senior councillor has said as the programme is rolled out.

Highland Council's economy and infrastructure committee chairman, Cllr Ken Gowans, made the comments as the lower limits begin to replace former 30mph signs across the region.

In all, the reduced limits will eventually be rolled out to 121 villages and towns – with the likes of Tain in Easter Ross seeing its limit go live on Monday this week (April 24).

Urging motorists to "help keep your community safe", he said the support of motorists – and chancing and informing driver behaviour – will be key to the new limits' success, but that "the very real safety benefits will be felt" in all communities.

Cllr Gowans said: “The key to the success of this large-scale change to the speed limits is about drivers supporting local communities and the aspirations for an environment where vehicles are travelling at lower speed through them.

Related: Speeding motorists on North Coast 500 caught by police in Highland crackdown

"One of the fundamental benefits of introducing 20 mph limits is to improve the safety of everyone using the roads be they drivers, cyclists, or walkers.

He was speaking ahead of a report which will go before the economy and infrastructure committee on May 4. It will highlight additional actions and interventions the council's road safety team are highlighting to support the new 20mph speed limits, which are fully funded by Transport Scotland.

He added: “The report will cover the multi-agency approach that is planned to help drivers adjust to the new speed limits and help aid driver behaviour change.

"Developing key messages on safety and the importance of slowing down in the 20 mph limits and getting these across effectively, will be crucial. As we are part of the pilot for the whole of Scotland, we will be able to tap into resources Transport Scotland are developing specifically for the programme.

“In addition to having clear signage on the ground and providing information that helps influence current behaviour choices of drivers it is also about remembering why we are doing this. The very real safety benefits will be felt in each one of the 121 communities. Residents, including children, as well as visitors will be able to access schools, play spaces, local amenities, including shops and community centres, in a safer and more pleasant road environment.”

The council’s road safety team will be working alongside the police to actively promote the programme.

The new limit extents for each area can be viewed online on the Highland Council website by selecting www.highland.gov.uk/20mph then the location in question.

The next stage in the delivery of the programme is the timetabling of the works required to introduce the new speed limits in the areas listed and this is ongoing with the first delivery date expected in summer 2023.

The report the committee will discuss is available on the council’s website at www.highland.gov.uk/download/meetings/id/81486/item_15_culture_and_speed_limit_compliance.

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