First Minister urged to back 20mph speed limit

The First Minister has been urged to support a 20mph speed limit in all residential areas across Scotland.

Scottish Greens MSP Alison Johnstone used her first questions as the party’s new joint leader to call for support for the speed-limit plan which she said will save children’s lives

Urging Nicola Sturgeon to back the Safer Streets Bill that would introduce national mandatory 20mph speed limits on residential streets, Ms Johnstone said: “The health and safety of our children can’t depend on what part of the country they live in.”

Ms Johnstone, who now shares leadership responsibilities with Patrick Harvie in Holyrood, said: “Some parts of Scotland have made their streets safer, healthier places, including here in Edinburgh, where a 20mph speed limit has been rolled out.

“More lives are being saved and children protected.”

She added: “The Scottish Government has made some brave and important public health interventions like banning smoking in public places, introducing minimum pricing for alcohol, but these policies are effective because they apply at a national level with Government leadership.”

Scottish Government’s Stage 1 budget
Scottish Green Party’s Patrick Harvie and Alison Johnstone at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. (Jane Barlow/PA)

After welcoming Ms Johnstone to her new role, the First Minister resisted her call to back the Bill prior to hearing the proposals debated by MSPs.

Ms Sturgeon replied: “Many authorities already have 20mph speed limits and I would encourage Local authorities to consider that where they think it’s appropriate.”

She stressed the need for balance between government’s national leadership and the autonomy of local authorities, but added: “I can give an assurance that I will listen very closely to the arguments that are made as Mark Ruskell brings forward his bill.”

“Paramount importance must be attached to the safety of children so I absolutely commit to listening carefully to these arguments,” she said.

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