Quarry firm agrees to slow down in Airth

Gordon Carlton, Paterson transport manager and Councillor Laura Murtagh in Airth. Picture by Michael Gillen.
Gordon Carlton, Paterson transport manager and Councillor Laura Murtagh in Airth. Picture by Michael Gillen.

A major quarrying company has agreed to a voluntary 20mph speed limit when its trucks pass through Airth on the A905.

Patersons Quarries now says its lorries will use alternate roads as often as is practical, and drivers will be instructed to keep to 20mph on that stretch of road.

Director Lorna Gall said: “We have an alert when the vehicles go over a speed limit or a limit set by us in a designated zone.

“I hope this will help to make the local residents feel safer and that it will make a noticeable difference.”

Patersons Quarries, which currently operates in Cowie, uses the A905 to take goods from its quarry to the motorway network.

The company took the decision in response to a plea from Councillor Laura Murtagh, a long-term 
campaigner for improved road safety in the village, who wrote to all local hauliers asking them to take action.

Councillor Murtagh said: “It’s certainly very welcome that Patersons have made this commitment, recognising the concerns of residents in Airth and taking action accordingly, I hope others will follow suit.

“I now plan to write to other hauliers again and widen the scope to ask them to sign up to the same 20mph pledge through Airth and re-routing where possible, particularly around school run times, perhaps making it into a voluntary charter.”

Councillor Murtagh along with members of Airth Community Council have pleaded with HGV drivers to slow down or reroute because at some points the main road is very narrow.

A large stone wall right beside the main street also causes a disconcerting draft for pedestrians when lorries pass.

The narrow road also means the traffic islands are too small to easily fit buggies, prams and cycles.

The councillor says she has had many discussions with the roads department about how to improve the situation and has asked for detailed traffic surveys to look at what can be done.

However, those surveys have revealed that the number of HGVs was just two per cent of the total average daily vehicle volume.

This, together with the fact that there is no parallel route available, led the council to reject calls to ban HGVs from going through Airth.

They also showed that the average pedestrian waiting time was seven seconds – only one person had to wait 26 seconds to cross, which wasn’t enough to justify a pedestrian crossing.

The survey also recorded average speeds as 28.5mph, although one driver was recorded as doing 60.3 mph.

Villagers also asked for an extension speed limits on the approach to the village but road officers are concerned that where speed limits are “unreasonably low” drivers will ignore them and can make the road more dangerous.

There are currently pilot schemes looking at the effectiveness of 20mph speed restrictions, so residents may yet see some change.

Further studies on speed and volume have been done by Falkirk Council but they are not yet available for analysis.

What is most important now, Councillor Murtagh believes, is good road safety awareness by everyone – drivers and pedestrians alike.

She said: “This is why I continue to work closely with local community police officer PC Pete Dunlop and his colleagues to get appropriate emphasis on this with the local community.

“This is particularly with respect to children’s attitudes and I know he has been working hard with the local school at getting that message across.”