Pupils seek pledges to enforce new 20mph speed limits in south of Capital

James Gillespies pupil Willard Thomson helps launch the 20mph zone
James Gillespies pupil Willard Thomson helps launch the 20mph zone
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PESTER power is being deployed to enforce new 20mph speed limits in south Edinburgh.

The pilot project, aimed at making the roads safer for pedestrians and cyclists, could be rolled out city-wide if it proves successful.

Streets from Holyrood Park to Blackford Hill will have 20mph signs installed to make drivers aware of the new limit, but no speed bumps or traffic calming measures will be introduced.

Instead, pupils at five schools will badger parents into signing a pledge called “Just give me a minute” to keep to the new limit.

By reducing driving speeds to 20mph in other parts of the Capital, road casualties have been slashed by up to 50 per cent.

Pupils will campaign to collect the highest number of signed pledge cards in support of the pilot over the coming months.

Marshall Poulton, head of transport at the city council, said the number of road collisions and casualties in south-central Edinburgh were “relatively low” and would “never meet the criteria for traffic calming measures”.

He said: “This is a first in Scotland and we hope that by getting the schoolchildren involved as champions it will send out a powerful message to drivers and appeal to their sense of responsibility for their community.

“Making Edinburgh’s roads safe for everyone is crucial. Evidence suggests 20mph limits make streets safer and more attractive for cycling and walking, as well as reducing collisions.

“In addition, more people walking or cycling is good for health, reducing congestion and improving the environment.

“This campaign will rely heavily on community support in order to make the 20mph limit pilot work as there are no traffic calming measures being implemented.”

Mr Poulton said installing physical traffic calming controls could cost six times as much as the current project, which has been valued at £150,000.

Police have said that no extra resources would be deployed to enforce the speed cap, which was previously set at 30mph.

Superintendent David Carradice said: “Lothian and Borders Police is committed to reducing casualty numbers on the roads, and we are happy to support the council in this initiative.

“Any road safety measure which has the potential to reduce casualties is to be welcomed, and we expect people to reduce their speed accordingly.”

It has emerged that north Edinburgh would be next in line to try out the pilot if the current phase achieves its aims.

John Palmer, from Grange/Prestonfield Community Council, said: “We are pleased to welcome this pilot and its promise to make our streets safer and more pleasant for all.

“We would have liked to see all roads included in the zone, but now that we’ve got all these new signs up we hope drivers will take notice and pledge to keep within the limits.”

Children from Sciennes and Gillespie’s primary schools tested out the new 20mph limit pilot with a route walk between their two schools.