Twenty miles per hour speed limit in Scotland - consultation response

In January 2019 we responded to the Scottish Parliament Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee consultation on the Restricted Roads (20 mph Speed Limit) (Scotland) Bill. We support the proposed reduction in the default speed limit on most urban and residential streets in Scotland to 20mph.

The Restricted Roads (20 mph Speed Limit) (Scotland) Bill was introduced by Mark Ruskell MSP on 21 September 2018. The Bill proposed an Act of the Scottish Parliament to reduce the general speed limit on restricted roads to 20 miles per hour. The Bill is currently at stage one. 

Our submission has been published on the Scottish Parliament website.

Our response

  • We support the proposed reduction in the default speed limit on most urban and residential streets in Scotland from 30 miles per hour (mph) to 20mph to enhance road safety. Our Why Children Die report outlines the evidence to support this.
  • The proposed Bill will have an immediate beneficial impact on the health of children and young people, creating safer places to walk, cycle and play, reducing fatal and non-fatal injuries.
  • Road traffic injuries are a major cause of preventable death during childhood and adolescence. An average of six children (under 16 years) died annually on Scotland’s roads between 2011 and 20131 . Also, there was an average of two pedestrian fatalities involving children between 2009 and 2013.
  • Our State of Child Health recommendations for Scotland called for the implementation of a robust, consistent child death review system in Scotland.
  • We support the evidence presented in ROSPA's Road Safety Factsheet (2017) which outlines benefits of reducing speed limits.
  • We are currently undertaking a research project on the effects of indoor air quality on children and young people’s health. We suggest that reduced driving speeds within residential areas will reduce exposure to harmful effects of air pollution.

Our recommendations

  • We recommend that the Bill is passed.
  • If the Bill is passed, we recommend that the roll out is accompanied by a national awareness campaign. This should include a media publicity campaign, clear signage and police enforcement.
  • We think do not think that Police Scotland be required to take additional enforcement action, over and above that used to enforce the current 30mph limit, following the introduction of a 20mph limit on most urban and residential streets in Scotland.
  • If the Bill is passed, we recommend that local authorities are given one year to complete the roll out of the new 20mph limit.

In January 2019, Prof Steve Turner, RCPCH Officer for Scotland, wrote a blog post on why reducing speed limits will improve child health.

We respond to a wide range of consultations to ensure that the College’s position, and ultimately children’s health, is represented. Members can get involved in current consultations by contacting the Scotland Team: