RESIDENTIAL streets in Scotland could become 20mph zones after an international study boosted proposals for their introduction by concluding it would drastically reduce road deaths.

Pedestrians and cyclists are around five times more likely to die in a collision at 30mph, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said. It recommended 30kmh — equivalent to 20mph — should be the maximum speed where motorised vehicles and vulnerable road users share the same space.

The Scottish Greens plan to bring a bill before the Scottish Parliament this year to change the default speed limit on residential streets from 30mph to 20mph.

Mark Ruskell, the party’s environment spokesman, said he has had “constructive negotiations” already with police and

councils about the proposal. He added: “We are now at a tipping point, where around the world the benefits of reducing traffic speed is seen as an essential tool to make communities safer, healthier and greener.

“Scotland has the chance to make 20mph speed limits the default rule rather than

the exception in urban areas, building on the success of widespread roll outs in

Edinburgh, Fife and Clackmannanshire.”

The controversial 20mph speed limit in Edinburgh has been credited with lowering the number of casualties in the city by nearly one-quarter.

There were 24 per cent fewer casualties between October and December last year, dropping from 1,067 to 809 compared to the same period in 2016. Nearly one-third fewer people are also being killed or seriously injured. There were 103 fatal or serious casualties between October and December, compared to 147 in 2016.

The OECD report stated: “Where motorised vehicles and vulnerable road users share the same space, such as in residential areas, 30kmh is the recommended maximum.”

It added: “Research has indicated that

the death risk is about four to five times higher in collisions between a car and a pedestrian/road worker on foot at 50kmh (30mph) compared to the same type of

collisions at 30kmh (20mph). Considering this, there is a strong recommendation to reduce speed in urban areas.

“To reduce road trauma (ie fatalities and injuries), governments need to take actions to reduce the speed on our roads and also to reduce differences in speed.

“As individuals, the risks for a severe crash might seem small, but from a societal point of view, there are substantial safety gains when the mean speeds and speed differences on the roads are reduced.”

The OECD joins international bodies such as the World Health Organisation, Global Network for Road Safety Legislators and the International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) which have already called for a wider rollout of 20mph roads. It cites 30kmh as the developing international standard, citing the Netherlands where 70% of urban roads have a 30kmh limit.

Rod King, campaign director for 20’s Plenty for Us, said: “This is yet another report coming to the firm conclusion that 20 is plenty where people live, work, play, shop and learn.

“Other countries have adopted a near universal 30km/h limit for urban and residential streets. More than 25% of the UK live in authorities who have also set 20mph as the right urban limit. Nearly half (44%) of Londoners are now living in 20mph streets.

“The Scottish Parliament is considering a bill to make 20mph the limit (with exceptions) for built up roads.

“It’s time to end the postcode lottery on pedestrian/cycling safety and general well-being in our residential and urban places by setting a 20mph default limit for built-up roads across the UK.”