Jenny Marra MSP




Residential Road Safety - speech in the Scottish Parliament debate

28 September 2016

I commend Mark Ruskell for bringing this important debate to Parliament.

I want to speak on behalf of my constituents, a group of whom have been campaigning for a 20mph limit on a street in the city of Dundee.

The Minister for Transport and the Islands will be aware of the case, as I have written to him about it and he has replied.

I want to talk through a few of the issues.

The nub of the matter is to seek clarity from the Government on the strength and implementation of the guidance.

I know from the minister’s letter that he is very keen on balancing the 20mph policy with the discretion of local authorities, but the case in my constituency is unique.

I am very familiar with the street that I am talking about, because I used to access it as a pupil when I went to St John's high school.

Johnston Avenue provided access to my high school, and it now also provides access to Kingspark primary school and Kingspark secondary school.

I might be wrong about this, but I wonder whether it is the only solely residential street in Scotland that provides access for pupils to a primary school and two secondary schools.

Dundee City Council has continually told residents that the street cannot have a 20mph limit, as it is a road of strategic importance.

I welcome Dundee City Council’s consultation. It has done a thorough consultation on the 20mph limit across the city and has identified areas— particularly residential areas—where it wants to move to using the 20mph limit.

That is particularly welcome in communities such as Ardler, where a girl was thrown in the air by a car as she was getting ice cream from a van on a Saturday evening earlier this summer.

I ask whether the Government is serious about this policy.

In his letter, the minister said that the guide “aims to ensure greater consistency on setting 20mph speed restrictions throughout Scotland, and encourages local authorities to introduce them near schools, in residential zones”.

The street that I am talking about is a purely residential zone and it is unique in having access to two secondary schools and one primary school. I have invited the minister to come to Dundee.

He said he would meet with the residents of Johnston Avenue if his diary permits, and I extend that invitation again. The evidence about Johnston Avenue is breathtaking.

There is often speeding over 40mph, as it is used as a through-road for council vehicles and buses. For the residents of that road, something should be done.

I will make one further observation.

The Deputy Presiding Officer: Please make it briefly.

Jenny Marra: I will.

My next point may be purely observational on my part, but I wonder whether the minister has any evidence on it.

In my experience of driving around Scotland, I have noticed that 20mph areas seem to be in more affluent parts of our communities.

I wonder whether residents in those communities are more successful at making their voices heard and imposing stricter speed limits.

I am interested in any evidence that the Scottish Government might have on that.

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