New guidance on 20 mph limits released

This Good Practice Guide, written in conjunction with the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS), aims to provide clarity on the options available to local authorities. This will aid greater consistency on setting 20 mph speed restrictions throughout Scotland while encouraging local authorities to introduce them near schools, in residential areas and in other areas of our towns and cities where there is a significant volume of pedestrian or cyclist activity.

Derek Mackay, Minister for Transport & Islands said:

“The Scottish Government is committed to creating a healthier, greener and safer Scotland and believes that the introduction of 20 miles per hour (mph) restrictions can help to contribute to all these objectives.

“By reducing speed on our roads we can create streets where the space is shared more equally between different road users and create a safer environment, encouraging people to make active travel choices.

“Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2020 set challenging casualty reduction targets and aims to address speed as one of its main priorities. This new 20 mph Guidance will help towards achieving these targets by reducing speeds on our roads.”

Ewan Wallace, Chair of the Society of Chief Officers for Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS), said:

“As Chair of the Society of Chief Officers for Transportation in Scotland, I am delighted that our members have played such an important role on the pan-Scotland working party led by Transport Scotland that has prepared the “Good Practice Guide on 20 mph Speed Restrictions”.

“I would wish to thank all members of the working party for their hard work and commend the document to all Local Authorities as they continue to tackle all of the challenges associated with reducing the level of death and serious injury across our road network.”

The Road Safety Framework also includes commitments to encourage local authorities to consider 20 mph zones in all residential areas and supports intelligence-led safety initiatives. As a result of these commitments Transport Scotland supported an extensive 20 mph trial in Edinburgh which resulted in lower vehicle speeds, without the need for traffic calming measures, and attracted strong support from residents. The results of this trial mean that local authorities throughout Scotland can now consider the introduction of 20 mph limits, without traffic calming, in circumstances detailed in the Guide.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, Transport Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, said:

“This new guidance is very welcome. We’ve had huge public support for extending 20 mph limits in Edinburgh and the new guidance will help us implement our plans.

“In January 2015 our Transport and Environment Committee will look at the results of the extensive consultation we carried out this autumn on which streets will change to a 20 mph limit. We will shortly publish a map showing these streets. Depending on the next stages of the process going smoothly, we’d hope to see the first new speed limits come into effect late in 2015 or early in 2016.”

The Guide can be viewed here.

Notes to editors


• Transport Scotland assisted the City of Edinburgh Council (CEC) in the evaluation of its 20 mph limit pilot scheme in South Central Edinburgh.

• This designated all side streets, and some of the main routes in the area, as 20 mph, without additional traffic calming measures.

• CEC have consulted on plans and are now planning to roll out 20 mph limits across the city by 2017, while maintaining a strategic 30 mph network.

• The last definitive Scottish guidance produced for local authorities on 20 mph speed restrictions was in 2001.

• Although supplementary guidance was produced in 2004 and 2006, local authorities have been keen to have updated advice and guidance from the Scottish Government to take account of policy changes.

Published 8 Jan 2015