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WATCH: Film commissioned by Black Isle community leaders aims to show Highland Council the need for 20mph speed limit in Rosemarkie


By Hector MacKenzie

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David Guthrie and Anne Phillips, of Fortrose and Rosemarkie Community Council.
David Guthrie and Anne Phillips, of Fortrose and Rosemarkie Community Council.

Fears that it will take the death of a schoolchild or elderly person for Highland Council to act on a community’s heartfelt plea for a 20mph speed limit have been voiced.

And now, after 20 years of frustration, Fortrose and Rosemarkie Community Council has commissioned a film it hopes will persuade the local authority to impose the limit in Rosemarkie – in line with measures witnessed elsewhere.

The film highlights the need for a speed restriction, the overwhelming local support and “the repeated failure of the council to act”.

Community councillor David Guthrie said requests for a 20mph speed limit in the village date back to 2002.

He said: “In that time the population has grown – even now a new housing estate is under construction – and as everyone knows, the number of tourists visiting the area, many driving large campervans, has increased significantly. The beach, especially in the summer, is a huge attraction.

“Other villages on the Black Isle have a 20mph zone, but despite the narrow pavements and tricky junctions, Highland Council has repeatedly refused action in Rosemarkie, citing cost. But just how costly are a few road signs and what are the other associated costs?

“It has appeared that Highland Council is clearly only going to act when someone, perhaps a child getting off a school bus or an elderly person crossing the road, is injured or killed.

"For a private company, failing to take action when an identified health and safety hazard leads to an accident, would result in fines or even a prison sentence for those responsible. This video makes it clear the Highland Council has been warned and Rosemarkie wants action now.”

Black Isle councillor Gordon Adam.
Black Isle councillor Gordon Adam.

Black Isle councillor Gordon Adam acknowledged the frustration which he said he and Highland Council officers share.

He suggested a 20mph speed limit may not result in better road safety, citing Henrietta Street in nearby Avoch “where the locals believe there is still a speeding problem despite well-marked 20mph signs on the road and on lamp-posts”.

He added: “From my experience of Rosemarkie High Street, the average speed is probably closer to 10mph because the road is so narrow. That is not to say there isn’t a road safety issue – there very possibly is – but resolving it can be difficult. What is required is speed and other surveys both in Rosemarkie and Avoch and these take time and effort.”

He said the council road safety team has two people who currently have 70 projects in the pipeline, including some on the Black Isle.

He said: “Like the rest of the council, the team is badly underfunded and unfortunately it is likely to remain so because of significant financial pressures from lack of central government funding.

“The police have also had their funds cut and can’t provide the level of monitoring needed to enforce speed limits.

“The situation is not helped by road safety being such a long-winded bureaucratic process: I successfully proposed a motion last year mandating the Highland Council to lobby the Scottish Government to simplify the process.

“Highland Council is an easy target for criticism, but in reality there are many others involved in resolving road safety issues, including central government and the police.”

Read more: Mobile speed camera to be deployed on Avoch road


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