The Scottish Greens have issued an 11th hour plea to MSPs  to make 20mph the standard speed limit on residential streets in Scotland.

Scotland Green MSP Mark Ruskell put forward the legislation with the aim of reducing deaths and serious injuries on roads

The new plea to cut speed limits on residential streets has come ahead of a Parliament vote on Thursday.

Supporters for the plan include road safety, environment and transport campaigners, along with experts at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and the Faculty of Public Health in Scotland.

However, after hearing evidence from the police, academics, councils, environmental organisations and motorist groups, the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee rejected the idea last month.

READ MORE: Growing support for 20mph limit in Scotland's urban areas to end "1930s throwback"

Although the committee said it approved of the general aims and supported lowering some speed limits, it could not recommend a "one size fits all" policy.

Despite the committee voting to express a lack of support for the Bill, the Scottish Parliament will have the chance to vote on reducing the speed limit on restricted roads from 30mph to 20mph.


Ahead of the Thursday afternoon vote, Mr Ruskell said: "Colleagues voting against this Bill cannot ignore the simple fact that it will save lives. This truth has been acknowledged by the Welsh Government, who are pursuing a course of action almost identical to that proposed in my Bill and the Scottish Government's refusal to get on board is baffling.

"The current system, where councils create their own 20mph zones is both slow and expensive.

READ MORE: Cut speed limits to 20mph to save lives, says MSP

"The Bill has the backing of local authorities, children's charities and environmental organisations, but the Scottish Government seem to consider them secondary to the motoring lobby.

"The SNP have declared a climate emergency and claim to be a party of progress but if they team up with the Tories to block this Bill it will be hard to take those statements seriously."

Mr Ruskellput the bill forward for scrutiny at Holyrood after winning the backing of 25 Green, SNP, Labour and Lib Dem MSPs, as well as environmental groups and round-the-world cyclist Mark Beaumont.

It proposes making 20mph the standard speed limit for "restricted roads" - chiefly residential and minor roads in urban and rural areas - although it would give councils the power to designate 30mph areas in consultation with communities.

Councils can currently create 20mph zones - this has happened in Edinburgh, Fife and Clackmannanshire - but campaigners say this is "time consuming and costly" to do, and creates a confusing "patchwork" system.

The Active Nation Commissioner for Scotland, Lee Craigie, has also spoke out in favour of the proposal and said: "I'm in support of this bill because it sends the message that what our society values is people and shared, safe spaces for everyone.

"Such spaces encourage more people to walk, cycle, scoot or wheel and so positively impact on the social connectivity in communities while supporting the mental and physical health of everyone in that community."

The majority of members on the rural economy committee did not agree with the move saying they were unable to recommend the bill to parliament.

Their report voiced backing for widening the rollout of 20mph zones in Scotland, but questioned whether Mr Ruskell's legislation was the best way of doing it.

It reads: "After considering the evidence presented, the majority view of the committee is that the default, 'one-size-fits all' approach proposed in the Bill is not appropriate, as it does not give local authorities the flexibility to devise 20mph limits that they consider appropriate for their areas."

The group also said the financial plans underpinning the bill were "not robust".

In 2018 a study by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health (GCPH) found road casualties could fall by between 531 and 755 incidents a year – saving between one and five lives – if the speed limit in built-up areas dropped from 30mph to 20mph.