No, Glasgow City Council did not pass a plan to reduce the M8 motorway’s speed limit to 30mph

By: Annet Preethi Furtado
April 25 2023

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No, Glasgow City Council did not pass a plan to reduce the M8 motorway’s speed limit to 30mph


The Verdict False

Though the original motion included a proposal of a six-month trial of 30mph speed limits on the M8, the final version passed omitted this phrase.

Claim ID 9c0be0a2


Facebook posts accusing the Glasgow Council of disregarding residents' concerns and approving a plan to decrease the speed limit on its busiest motorway to 30 miles per hour have gone viral. Some users have called it "Totalitarian Net Zero nonsense" aimed at controlling people rather than saving the planet. Users also made the same claim on Twitter. Newspapers such as the Scottish Daily Express also reported on this claiming, "'Mad' Green plan for 30mph speed limit on Scotland's busiest motorway is PASSED by Glasgow council."

However, the assertion that Scotland is reducing motorway speed limits to 30 miles per hour on the M8 motorway is inaccurate.

In Fact

Campaigner Peter Kelly started a petition in October 2021 urging Members of the Scottish Parliament to ask the Scottish Government to commission an independent feasibility study to look into ways to lessen the impact of the M8 motorway passing through central Glasgow, including the potential for complete removal and land repurposing.

After the Glasgow City Council looked for solutions to lessen the M8's air and noise pollution, claims that Scotland was lowering the speed limit to 30 mph started circulating on social media. This was owing to a motion first put out by Councillor Bailie Christy Mearns, who urged a six-month trial of 30 mph speed limits on parts of the M8 in the city centre. However, the Council rejected this iteration of the motion. Eventually, a revised version was approved without the previously mentioned phrase- "a 6-month trial of 30mph speed limits on city center sections of the M8."

While the motion did state that "transport is Scotland's biggest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions," climate change was never listed as the fundamental rationale for the motion. Instead, it emphasized the adverse effects on the quality of life for communities in Glasgow, including physical barriers, unappealing and unsafe routes for walking, wheeling, and cycling, and heightened noise and air pollution levels.

Councillor Mearns told The Journal that such a claim is "incorrect". "As part of the motion, I requested Transport Scotland's consideration of a 30mph pilot zone on the central sections of the M8 to take immediate action and explore options to address air and noise pollution...Although the motion was agreed on a cross-party basis, it was adjusted from my original text as a result, so the wording on the speed limit was amended and the 30mph reference was removed," she said.

In the approved motion, the Council restates its commitment to Glasgow's Strategic Plan 2022-2027, which includes efforts to minimize the impact of the M8 on the city centre and explore long-term replacement options.

Furthermore, the assertion that the proposed reduction in speed limits is "Totalitarian Net Zero nonsense" intended to exert control over people rather than benefit the environment is an opinion that lacks concrete evidence.

The Verdict

There are no plans to reduce the speed limit of Scotland's M8 motorway to 30mph. The claim arises from misrepresenting a proposal to improve the quality of life and reduce air pollution in Glasgow City. Therefore, we have marked it as false.

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