Go slow in Wick as 20 mph signs are put up
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ALMOST 300 speed restriction signs have been unveiled in Wick in a move that will slow traffic on most of the town's roads.
Highland Council mooted 20 mph zones in a public consultation late last year but had expected the scheme to be rolled out six months ago.
A council spokesperson said: “There are 269 signs for this scheme. The aim of it is to reduce the number of injury collisions or reduce the severity of collision.
"The scheme has been designed to be self-enforcing and speeds will be monitored in six to 12 months to check compliance."
The spokesperson also said that four electronic signs have been put up in Wick, as well as four in the Noss area.
Caithness civic leader Willie Mackay, who represents Wick and East Caithness on Highland Council, takes the view that "twenty's plenty".
He said: “There can be no argument when it comes to the reduction in speed as it has been well proven that every 1 mph reduction in vehicle speeds on urban streets and in built-up areas results in a six per cent decrease in traffic fatalities or serious traffic injuries.”
Councillor Mackay pointed out that slowing down can have a positive effect on the environment as well.
“Cutting speed can significantly reduce emissions of other pollutants, particularly reducing nitrous oxide and particulate matter output from diesel engines. The safety gains from slower driving are also indisputable," he said.
The scheme was advertised for public consultation on November 30 with a plan showing that the majority of streets in the town will have a 20 mph speed restriction. Formerly this had only been used near schools.
Councillor Mackay said: "Lowering a posted speed limit will slow down traffic, increase safety and decrease the number of crashes. A 20 mph restriction can be enforced but, as with other roads, the key aim is not to prosecute people but to encourage drivers to keep to the speed limits.
"Twenty miles per hour is safer, healthier, fairer, greener, quieter and better for people’s quality of life."
Highland Council was asked to provide a costing for the scheme but had not provided the information at the time of going to press.
The initiative is being rolled out across the north Highlands with restrictions also implemented for Alness, Dingwall, Invergordon and Tain. Gateway signage, roundels, 20 mph repeater signs and speed indication devices have been introduced in all four Ross-shire towns.
Some local residents commenting on social media felt it would be hard to police the speed restriction effectively.
Wick man Konrad Szewczyk said: “Such nannying should be relegated to nurseries and primary schools, not entire settlements."
One local woman who did not wish to be named said: "They can set whatever speed limits they want but the idiots and young racers will decide their own speed."