SPEED limits could be slashed in the Borders from next month.

Councillors are being asked to rubber-stamp plans to cut 30mph zones down to 20mph in 80 communities.

The move is part of an 18-month pilot to encourage more Borderers to walk and cycle.

The scheme will be discussed at a meeting of the full council next Thursday.

Councillor Gordon Edgar, executive member for roads and infrastructure, said: “Coronavirus has changed the way we live and move around, and as a result we felt this was the perfect time to work with Sustrans Scotland to try out new measures that may shift the balance towards walking and cycling, which we may not otherwise do.

“This trial will aim to help people in the Borders lead healthier lifestyles, and at same time help reduce CO2 emissions.

“If approved on (Thursday) August 27, the introduction of 20mph areas will be a hugely significant change for all of our communities but it is worth emphasising this is a pilot which will be continually reviewed throughout its 18-month duration.”

The proposals come after the council secured £1.2 million from the Spaces for People programme, funded by the Scottish Government.

Mr Edgar added: “The council is planning to work with a Scottish university to ensure an academic evaluation of the Spaces for People programme is carried out, which will show which of these temporary measures were successful, which were not, and which need to be improved.”

The local authority is already trialling 40mph zones in some areas.

Among them are the C76 road between Lauder and Earlston; the Innerleithen to Peel route; the B7062 between Peebles and Traquair and the C11 between Heriot and Clovenfords.

Karen McGregor, director of Sustrans Scotland, said: “It’s clear that people across Scotland want to do the right thing during coronavirus. They want to look after their physical and mental health.

“They also want to make sure that they are keeping to physical distancing guidelines while still being safe on our streets.

“Providing funding support to Scottish Borders Council through our Spaces for People programme will make it easier and safer for Borderers to travel around their area for essential travel and exercise.”