Scottish Borders set for permanent 20mph zones as scheme announced in Dumfries and Galloway

A 20mph sign
A series of temporary 20mph zones in the Scottish Borders are to become permanent fixtures.

A series of temporary 20mph zones in the Scottish Borders look set to become permanent this week.

They have been in place in more than 90 settlements across the district since October last year and have been recommended for permanent status at a council meeting which takes place on Thursday.

Last week a similar trial scheme was announced in Dumfries and Galloway.

The project in the Borders was known 'Spaces for People' and had the aim of encouraging more walking and cycling. It has been run alongside Sustrans and Transport Scotland, with input from Edinburgh Napier University academics.

It has been found that vehicle speeds have reduced in almost all settlements, in some instances by 6mph, with an average reduction closer to 3mph.

It has been recommended that 20mph will be the default limit across towns and villages.

Some places would have 30mph or 40mph buffer zones in place - usually areas with no homes near the road or stretches where it is felt driving at 20mph is difficult to justify and "particularly challenging".

 Cllr Gordon Edgar, executive member for infrastructure, travel and transport, said: “The introduction of a 20mph speed limit across our towns and villages was a bold step but we felt it was important to give it a try and see what benefits it would bring.

20mph zones are coming to Dumfries and Galloway.

In Dumfries and Galloway meanwhile, the council has approved a roll-out of 20mph zones.

Members have backed a huge programme of traffic calming measures, which will be implemented outside all primary schools within the next 12 months, as well as every major town in the district by August 2023.

They have also committed to introducing 20mph zones on timber haulage routes within small communities.

Dee and Glenken member, Cllr Jane Maitland said: "In the Stewartry, these are little settlements which suffer disproportionately in many ways.

"Things like the removal of quarry stone, tanker transport, and industrial-sized dairies that we've got in the Stewartry now, all of these have changed the use of these roads which were not designed to take that level of speedy and heavy transport."

Steven Herriott, the council's head of roads and infrastructure, explained that the timber haulage routes could be added as a third stream of works after the priority 20mph zones are completed at primary schools and towns in the region.

Introducing 20mph zones on timeber haulage routes was widely supported butAnnandale North member Cllr Adam Wilson feared this move could jeopardise the progress of the schools and towns project.

He argued: "We do run the risk of repeating history here by putting too much on the plate without having the identified resource.

Work could begin on streets outside the first two of 24 primary schools this month, with all school areas to be completed by December 2022.

Primary schools included are: Twynholm, Gelston, Carrutherstown, Castle Kennedy, Auchencairn, Caerlaverock, Collin, Lochrutton, Springfield, Kirkgunzeon, Duncow, Portpatrick, Nethermill, Borgue, Brydekirk, Shawhead, Hightae, Ae, Palnackie, Tundergarth, Applegarth, Hottsbridge, St Ninian's RC and Kirkbean.

The following 17 towns are to have 20mph zones: Stranraer, Annan, Locharbriggs/Heathhall, Lockerbie, Dalbeattie, Castle Douglas, Newton Stewart/Minnigaff, Gretna, Kirkcudbright, Moffat, Lochmaben, Langholm, Kirkconnel, Sanquhar, Thornhill and Eastriggs.

The first nine towns listed are expected to have them introduced over the next 20 months, with the others scheduled later.

Temporary speed limits lasting 18 months will be introduced at each location so that the overall rollout can be completed more quickly, while work is done in the background to make them permanent thereafter.