Technical Papers

Reducing vehicle speed is one of the four key elements of achieving a safe road system. Many local authorities are considering moving the default from 30mph to 20mph (or 50kph to 30kph). Wales is the first country of the UK to make 20mph the default speed limit and it will become law on 17 September 2023. A Welsh Government report has estimated the direct costs of introducing the 20mph default to be £32.3M. This report estimates the casualty savings of 20mph (the value of prevention), in the first year alone, to be around £92M; almost three times higher than the implementation costs.

The Scottish Government made a  commitment in December 2020 to reduce all car traffic kilometres by 20% by 2030 as part of its net zero carbon emissions plan. A route map to achieving this reduction was published in 2022, comprising a framework of ‘pull’ measures attracting car users to more sustainable modes or altering their travel behaviour.  To maximise the potential of the plan, these measures are likely to need to be complemented by ‘push’ measures which may have resultant effects on business.  This report reviews potential measures that might be implemented and assesses their likely impacts, both positive and negative, on the Scottish business community.

Noise is overlooked in terms of its negative impacts of health. Decision-makers, among others, are not aware as to the severity of health harms from noise. Evidence suggests that reduction of speed limits to 20mph or 30kmph can significantly reduce noise and therefore also noise related health harms.