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Lower speed limits outside primaries

The Scottish Executive confirmed this week that it is to give pound;27 million to help bring in 20mph speed limits around schools.

The announcement came on Wednesday as Nicol Stephen, Transport Minister, endorsed Walk to School Day. Mr Stephen highlighted the importance of keeping youngsters active and reducing traffic congestion.

The cash for speed limits is in addition to a pound;16.85 million package for local authorities over 2004-06 for cycling, walking and safer streets projects, including safer routes to school.

Mr Stephen sidestepped a parliamentary question from Tommy Sheridan, leader of the Scottish Socialist Party, who pressed him on whether every primary school would have a 20mph limit. That was a matter for each authority, he said. But he promised to consider the need for further funding "in due course".

The pound;27 million will be committed over three years, with up to pound;5 million in 2003-04 and up to pound;11 million in each of the following two years. Mr Stephen said "significant progress" had been made in reducing road deaths and injuries among children. "But there are still too many tragic incidents."

A survey by the Scottish Parent Teacher Council found that road safety was the second biggest concern for parents of primary children. Accident statistics for 2002 showed that 2,767 children were injured on Scottish roads, 509 seriously.

In an average year in Scotland, the equivalent of two classes are killed on the roads.

Figures also show that 88 per cent of accidental deaths among 0-19s in Scotland are the result of traffic accidents, with drowning (7 per cent) and drugs (5 per cent) accounting for the rest.

The Executive has also launched the Streetsense road safety teaching pack to educate primary pupils about road safety. It was developed by the Scottish Road Safety Campaign and can be found on its website,

In another move, local authorities are to be funded to appoint school travel co-ordinators, whose job will be to promote active travel choices and best practice in individual schools as well as to advise on cycling, walking and safer street allocations.

There will be pound;750,000 for this initiative in 2003-04, rising to pound;1 million a year in the next two financial years.

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