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Calls for more 20mph zones in region

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By Marc Mclean, Local Democracy Reporter
Calls for more 20mph zones in region

FRUSTRATED councillors are demanding a speedy introduction of more 20mph zones in villages and around schools in Dumfries and Galloway.

The local authority agreed almost a decade ago to implement a 20mph policy in built-up areas and outside school buildings.

However, there are still 22 schools in the region without this traffic safety measure, and communities have been repeatedly calling for speed restrictions in their streets.

At the council’s communities committee on Tuesday, Dee and Glenkens Councillor Jane Maitland spoke out about the lack of progress made since the 20mph policy was first recommended in 2012.

“I find myself so exasperated by this because every community council I go to wants to have a 20mph limit,” she said.

“When you look at the officer’s recommendation – that was ten years ago that we wanted to have reduced speeds.

“This is snail like.”

The issue was discussed at length by the committee with roads officers recommending that schools are prioritised, along with roads where there are records of accidents involving cyclists or pedestrians.

However, councillors called for a comprehensive plan where more 20mph zones can be implemented in villages and built-up areas as quickly as possible.

Anthony Topping, the council’s team leader on road safety, explained that it can take up to six months to implement one scheme.

He added that temporary schemes can also be introduced with an 18-month lifespan, which opened up the possibility of more areas benefitting from 20mph zones while a scheduled plan is gradually rolled out.

Annandale North Councillor Adam Wilson said: “A number of communities in my ward have been trying to get a 20mph zone, or at least a consultation carried out, over a number of years.

“It’s fair to say there has been a frustration from communities. Some communities have felt like they’ve been fobbed off, but I appreciate that this report shows we are taking this issue seriously.”

He called for a list of targeted 20mph areas to be drawn up, featuring likely timescales for when they would be introduced.

Dee and Glenkens Councillor Pauline Drysdale also argued that there is an urgency for more 20mph zones due to increased traffic.

She said: “Listening to other councillors, I think we’re all singing off the same hymn sheet.

“Something has to be done – especially in and around the schools, never mind the rest of the villages, because of the larger vehicles that are becoming more prevalent in our area.”

Councillors instructed roads officers to bring more information back to their December meeting.


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