Langholm may be first to change down to 20mph

Langholm could be among the first towns in Scotland to impose a 20mph speed limit on its streets, judging by support shown for the idea at a public meeting on Monday.

Speakers included Dr Elaine Murray, Labour MSP for Dumfriesshire and Shadow Minister for Housing and Transport, and Rod King, founder and director of the national 20’s Plenty For Us’organisation.

About 40 members of the public listened and asked questions, following a local campaign to reduce the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph across the whole town.

“The meeting was well attended by politicians, officials and the local community,” Mr King told TheSouthern: “Clearly the community of Langholm feels there is a need to look at the 30mph limit. My message was: if you don’t think it’s right, then work together to get it changed – you do have the ability to change it.”

The organisation 20’s Plenty For Us asserts that those hit by a car at 30mph are seven times more likely to be killed that at 20mph, and that driving at 30mph rather than 20mph for half a mile (roughly the distance between Langholm’s Townhead and Townfoot Tollbars) saves only 30 seconds.

Mr King added: “The issue in Langholm is that the town’s speed limit is determined by Dumfries and Galloway Council – except on the A7 which is determined by Transport Scotland. And it’s the A7 along the High Street that people feel is the problem.”

A supporter of the campaign, Joan McAlpine, SNP MSP for South Scotland, said she had written to the Scottish Government’s Transport Minister, Keith Brown proposing that Langholm should be considered for a pilot scheme for a 20mph speed limit.

She was told by a member of the audience that Bishopriggs is close to becoming the first town to impose a 20mph speed limit on all its streets.

“It was a very positive meeting for us,” said campaigner Bill Telfer. “The idea’s now sinking in, and people think it sounds like common sense: they can’t understand why anybody would object”

Explaining the motivation behind the meeting, Mr Telfer said: “The public have got to make their voices heard, and then the policy and officials will follow it. It’s that simple.”

Campaigners have collected 500 signatures on their petition addressed to Dumfries and Galloway Council and Transport Scotland

“We haven’t begun doorstepping yet,” Mr Telfer said: “We’ll just keep on going.”