A 20mph speed limit trial is being introduced in 80 towns and villages across the Borders.

The plan is part of efforts to improve road safety and encourage people to walk and cycle.

It will run for up to 18 months – starting later this year – thanks to £1.2m from the Scottish government’s Spaces for People programme.

A number of trial 40mph areas, road closures and one-way systems are also being implemented.

The 20mph limits will be rolled out across the region between October and December.

The full list of towns and villages involved is on the council’s website.

A report will be brought back after a year to assess their effectiveness, with any permanent changes to be implemented in the following six months.

The council is finalising arrangements for an academic evaluation of the programme by a Scottish university.

The 20mph trial does not currently include sections of trunk roads which run through towns and villages like the A68, A7 south of Galashiels, A6091 Melrose Bypass, A702 and A1.

However, discussions are ongoing with Transport Scotland on these roads being included in the scheme.

Gordon Edgar, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for roads and infrastructure, said the plans had generated “considerable discussion”.

“It is worth reiterating that this is a trial but has the potential to help our communities lead healthier lifestyles, which is why we want to work with Sustrans Scotland to try out these new measures,” he said.

“Advanced notification will be provided to the public ahead of the new 20mph limit being introduced in their communities.”

The plans have been welcomed in Stow, one of the places involved.

Grace Murray, of the village’s community trust, said: “A lot of people from across Stow are positive about the trial and enthusiastic about embracing it.

“It will hopefully lead to less use of cars and more active travel.”

The council said it would continue to consult with the public as the scheme progresses.

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