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WHAT YOU SAY: 20mph zones in the Highlands – improving road safety or a waste of money?

By Val Sweeney

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New 20mph zones have been introduced in communities across the Highlands.
New 20mph zones have been introduced in communities across the Highlands.

To some, the introduction of 20mph zones in communities across the Highlands is a welcome move and improves road safety.

Others are not sure, questioning the cost and how effective they are and querying how they are being policed.

Highland Council has now launched a public consultation, looking for feedback from communities across the region where 125 settlements are included in the programme.

Readers have also posted their views on social media.

Billy Lowrie reckoned few were complying with the 20mph speed limits in the Balloch area of Inverness.

"I have seen a works van and trailer overtaking a car doing 20mph coming down the brae," said Billy. "Monitor the morning school traffic and you will find very few complying."

A North Kessock resident supported the reduced limits but also felt it was not working in her area.

"I walk up to school with my wee boy and the cars zoom past well over 30mph and don't even slow down when they see us walking," Laura Aburrow said.

"It's a huge difference between 30 and 20 when your walking along beside a road.

"I am all for it and hope that it is enforced more.

"I am still getting used to it and sometimes fail as old habits die hard but at least I'm trying."

Drivers in Fort Augustus do not adhere to the 30mph limit let alone the new 20mph limit, maintained Martyn McClune.

"The speed of HGVs, buses and other vehicles is ridiculous at times," he posted.

"I live on the A82 and I see this regularly. It is a disaster waiting to happen. The road is crossed by elderly people and school children every day.

"I would like to see more signage instead of the little 20mph round signs. Perhaps a large 20mph painted on the road approaching these areas and /or a camera/lit sign on approach."

The speed limit is said to be causing traffic problems in Nairn.
The speed limit is said to be causing traffic problems in Nairn.

Kirsty McCallum said the limit was causing problems on the main A96 through Nairn.

"Traffic is brought to an almost complete standstill to the point buses can't even get into Nairn coming from Inverness at times because the traffic is backed up all the way out the end," she said.

"The only way a 20mph limit could work on that stretch of road would be to build a bypass around Nairn - something that's been needed for a long time!"

Michael Goddard felt the new zones were fine for built-up areas but believed main roads such as Old Edinburgh Road in Inverness should not be 20mph. "It’s far too slow," he said.

Ingrid Francesca, who lives in Belgium, said in many cities and especially near schools the speed limit is 30km/hr (18.6mph).

"They also have introduced 'cycle roads' in the cities where you aren't allowed to overtake cyclists and speed limit is 30km/hr," she said.

"Personally, I think these slow speed limits are more dangerous as you start looking around.

"I think we all should have a bit more common sense. Nearby schools/care homes etc or when traffic is busy slow down."

Some motorists now say they spend too much time watching the speedometer, according to Linda MacGregor.

"If everyone obeyed the 30 limit to begin with it wouldn’t have needed to be changed," she posted.

"Sadly, that's not always the case and now we're stuck with the consequences."

Highland Council's consultation will run until the end of January 2024.

The comments received will be collated and looked at in detail and will assist in developing the future of the 20mph programme and provide valuable feedback on the roll out to date.

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