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Traffic situation in Strathaven and safe walking routes to school

Volume 671: debated on Wednesday 5 February 2020

The petition of residents of East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow,

Declares that the dangerous traffic situation in Strathaven should be resolved; notes that this market town and conservation area with a very long and special history is being damaged due to the speed of traffic through this town; further that the heavy traffic exacerbates problems of pollution, noise and vibration damage; further that narrow pavements and a lack of dedicated parking at Wester Overton Primary School increases the danger for pedestrians, especially school children; and further that residents have concerns about the mix of traffic which causes frustration and damage, especially where there are concerns about a possible safe walking route to schools in the Strathaven area.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to press upon the South Lanarkshire Council to reduce the speed of traffic through the market town, allow safe passage for school children and to resolve the parking issues at local schools in the area.

And the petitioners remain, etc. —[Presented by Dr Lisa Cameron, Official Report, 14 January 2020; Vol. 669, c. 993.]

[P002548]

Observations by the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport (Baroness Vere)

Speed limits:

The Government acknowledges the effects excessive vehicle speeds can have in local areas and are concerned about this practice.

Local traffic authorities are responsible for setting speed limits on local roads and the Government’s view is that they are best placed to set local speed limits that are appropriate for the individual road, reflecting local needs and taking account of local considerations, such as the presence of schools. Setting national speed limits in Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Government.

Detailed guidance on setting local speed limits has been issued by DfT and Transport Scotland for Scottish local traffic authorities.

In this case, judgement and responsibility for speed management lies with south Lanarkshire Council and I would suggest that the local residents continue to liaise closely with Council officers on the matter.

Traffic management:

Traffic management is devolved and traffic authorities in Scotland have a statutory responsibility to provide traffic management schemes for their roads and are free to make their own decisions about the streets under their care, including the parking arrangements, provided they take account of the relevant legislation. Local councillors are responsible for ensuring that local decisions about street infrastructure take account of the needs and opinions of local people. Guidance on these matters is available from Transport Scotland.

Safety around schools:

The Government are keenly aware of the impact of road traffic fatalities and injuries and the need to protect our most vulnerable, including children near schools.

By internationally measured standards the UK has an excellent road safety record and a long history of success in encouraging safe behaviours from all those that use our roads. The number of people killed or injured—using adjusted figures—on Britain’s roads has dropped by 21% from 2008 to 2018. In the same period there has also been a drop of 36% in the total number of children between 0 to 15 years old killed or injured—using adjusted figures—on Britain’s roads.

The Government are determined to make our roads even safer, which is why we are combining a range of focused measures to continue to improve road safety around schools including investing in the Walk to School programme, funding Bikeability cycle training and producing Think! campaigns which provide free educational resources online for 3 to 16 year olds.

Road Safety in Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Government and I would suggest that the local residents approach the Scottish Government for information on what they are doing to improve road safety in Scotland.