FORMAL consultation for a widespread 20 miles per hour (mph) speed limit in Dunbar is about to get under way.

East Lothian Council’s cabinet has already given the go-ahead to look at the possibility of reducing the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph on many of the streets north of the railway line.

The council is drawing up a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO), with members of the public to be asked for their views.

A spokeswoman for East Lothian Council told the Courier: “TROs follow a statutory process and are a legal document, and communities are often surprised at the length of time it can take to progress a scheme.

“It is the council’s responsibility to ensure a fair process is undertaken in determining a TRO, and key to that process is robust consultation.

“TRO consultations take time and, combined with statutory processes, can mean a typical and often simple TRO can take between 12 and 18 months to deliver.

“Complex or contentious TROs can easily take longer.

“The Dunbar 20mph has a proposed design and some initial consultation has taken place with police and I believe the community council.

“Further public consultation then takes place which gives residents, businesses and community groups an opportunity to provide their views. Once this process has been undertaken an implementation date will be agreed and advertised.”

A 20mph limit in the north of the Dunbar would mirror the speed limit on many of the streets in the Hallhill area south of the railway line.

Herbert Coutts, of the town’s community council, is among those who has been driving the scheme forward.

He said: “I welcome this as it is an important step to take the whole thing forward.

“I think with what is happening in the country in general it would not at all surprise me if, in a year or two, there is some sort of Parliamentary action about urban areas having 20mph limits.

“There is a distinct momentum growing behind that and it would be good to see it going forward.”

East Lothian Council’s cabinet discussed the proposals more than 12 months ago.

Since then, work has been carried out to see the reduced speed limit put in place.

If it is introduced, the reduced speed limit would be in place for a set period of time, with evidence being gathered to check if it is effective and whether it becomes a long-term fixture in the town.

Not all streets would see their speed limit reduced, with major roads such as Belhaven Road and Belhaven High Street staying 30mph.

Similarly, it has been stressed that the proposal is to reduce the speed limit, with no intention of introducing traffic calming measures such as speed bumps to slow vehicles down.

Ward councillor Norman Hampshire encouraged people to adhere to the new speed limits when they were introduced.

He said: “It is something that has had to go through the consultation process.

“There was widespread support in the community for reducing traffic speeds in residential areas.

“It has worked for sometime now in the south side of the town and many people in the old part of Dunbar have felt they required similar speed reductions.”