CAMPAIGNERS have expressed concerns after politicians put the brakes on proposals to introduce a 20mph speed limit on all residential roads.

Living Streets – a charity that promotes ‘everyday walking’ – had hoped legislation put forward to lower the speed limit in an attempt to improve safety would get the green light.

However, it was revealed on Friday that a Scottish Parliament committee has rejected the idea.

MSPs on the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee said that, although they approved of the general aims and supported lowering some speed limits, they could not recommend a “one-size-fits-all” policy.

Stuart Hay, director of Living Streets Scotland, insists that adopting the status quo on speed limits “isn’t an option.”

He added: “It’s deeply disappointing that a piecemeal approach to 20mph limits in Scotland will continue. People in Edinburgh and Glasgow currently benefit from safer streets, whilst smaller communities in many council areas are ignored.

“Slower speeds save lives. Very few people die in streets that are 20mph, whilst most pedestrian casualties occur in urban 30mph areas. It’s appalling this measure hasn’t been properly considered or supported.

“Councils need much better procedures and funding to rollout more 20mph limits where they are needed. The onus is now on politicians who have rejected a national approach to make local action much more practical.”

As things stand, councils can create 20mph zones, as has happened in Edinburgh, Fife and Clackmannanshire, but campaigners who would like to see similar action in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire say this is “time consuming and costly” to do and creates a confusing “patchwork” system.

A number of witnesses, including academics and representatives of motoring groups, gave evidence to the committee, which concluded the proposals “would have a variety of financial impacts” and that councils should have the ability to determine speed limits.

Committee convener Edward Mountain MSP said: “The committee supports the road safety objectives of the Bill. However, after considering extensive evidence, the committee has concluded that the introduction of 20mph speed limits on all restricted roads in Scotland in a one-size-fits-all approach is not the most effective way of achieving those objectives.

“The committee is of the view that local authorities should have the flexibility to decide where new 20mph zones would be most effective and appropriate for their areas.

“Additionally, the committee agreed that the estimated costs and savings of implementing a Scotland-wide change were not robust. However, the committee members believe that, if more 20mph zones are to be introduced, it must be made easier for local authorities to do so.

“This could include simplifying the legal process of changing a 30mph zone to a 20mph zone, which at present is cumbersome and resource-intensive.”