EAST Lothian Council has been urged to ensure it gets it right when it comes to gauging public opinion on whether a controversial 20 miles per hour (mph) speed limit should become permanent.

A consultation – both online and through leaflets being posted through doors – is under way to see if the public want the reduced speed limit to remain in place.

The speed limit on roads north of the East Coast Mainline was dropped from 30mph last summer, with an 18-month trial starting.

That trial is due to end in late September and the council could look to make the lower speed limit permanent.

However, feedback from members of the public on the change has been mixed, with a number questioning its effectiveness.

George Robertson, from the town’s community council, stressed the consultation needed to be “thorough”.

He said: “The feedback has been very mixed; some are in favour and quite a few are opposed.

“I think where we are at the moment is we have already talked as part of the community council to East Lothian Council to convince them that they need to do a comprehensive survey of local opinion in order to determine the way ahead.”

The town’s community council has been heavily involved in discussions surrounding the reduced speed limit in the town.

Mr Robertson said original discussions looked at the speed limit on residential streets, such as Countess Road, being reduced to 20mph.

At that time, the plan was for the greater speed limit – 30mph – to remain in place on, at least, sections of the main arterial routes, such as Belhaven Road, but they had their speed limit lowered too.

Fellow community councillor Herbert Coutts has been firmly behind the calls for the reduced speed limit.

He said: “My feeling is that the speed trial has been a useful exercise and that a considerable number of people have been law abiding and have observed the 20mph speed limit or near to it.”

A council spokeswoman confirmed that the consultation would focus mainly on whether the current streets covered by the limits should be made permanent or, if not, what alternative would be preferred – space is also available to make suggestions of both removing streets or indeed adding streets.

There is also the opportunity to add comments regarding speed limits in Hallhill, south of the railway line, which also has a near-blanket 20mph limit which is already permanent.

Responses can be submitted online, while 4,000 leaflets will be posted through the doors of homes in Dunbar and West Barns.

The spokeswoman said: “The introduction of the temporary 20mph limits was in response to community requests and the temporary traffic order gives an opportunity to assess whether it’s an option to be made permanent.

“The consultation will seek the views not only of drivers but other road users and pedestrians. and we hope both residents and local businesses will take the opportunity to respond.”

The consultation is at east lothianconsultations.co.uk/infrastructure/dunbar-north-20mph-speed-limit