MEMBERS of the public are being given the chance to have their say on the future of a controversial widespread 20 miles per hour limit.

Speed limits throughout towns and villages – and on the approach to settlements – were reduced last year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The speed limit on the approach to many towns was dropped to 40mph from 60pm, with vehicles travelling through built up areas often passing at 20mph, rather than the 30mph limit previously in place.

Now, East Lothian Council is calling on people to share their views on the scheme and whether it should be made permanent or face adjustments.

Councillor Norman Hampshire, the local authority’s spokesman for the environment, encouraged people to take part in the consultation, which runs until November 24.

He said: “The Spaces for People initiative provided all local authorities with opportunities to create additional space for physical distancing and in East Lothian we were able to introduce a number of measures including 20mph limits leading into our towns and villages.

“These were implemented under temporary Traffic Orders and we are now consulting on whether to make them permanent and if so, whether any adjustments need to be made.”

When, in March 2020, people were instructed to stay at home to slow the spread of the coronavirus, governments across the UK introduced various interventions to maintain business, tourism, healthcare and education, in response to the changes facing society.

The Scottish Government made £30 million available for councils under the ‘Spaces for People’ project to modify public spaces, such as roads and town centres, to make it safer and easier for people to walk and cycle for essential trips and exercise.

East Lothian secured £1.4 million of funding and put in place a number of measures, including:

  • Slower speeds for quicker recovery – reduce speed limits in town centres to 20mph to allow more flexible use of road space; and reduce speed limits on inter-urban routes to 40mph to support cycling between towns for those who cannot drive.
  • Space for shopping – re-locate parking in town centres to create space for queueing (and potentially eating) outside shops.
  • Space for exercise – create an exercise circuit for walking and cycling around each town using traffic calming and improved off-road routes.
  • Provide space at school – localised school interventions to encourage physical distancing and manage private car drop off.
  • Cycle improvements and on-street bike hire – in towns and coastal sites.

The lockdown saw a significant increase in cycling and, since it has been lifted, the Scottish Government has made clear its desire to preserve the features which made this possible.

Members of the public can share their views on what should happen to the changes in place by going to

Results are expected to be collated before the end of the year.