Wales lowering speed limit to 20mph
Wales has voted to lower the default national speed limit in built-up areas and busy pedestrian streets from 30mph to 20mph.
The new slower speed limits are currently being trialled in eight communities across Wales and will be rolled out nationally in September 2023.
The new legislation will not apply a blanket speed limit on all roads, but will make the default limit 20mph. This leaves local authorities to engage with the local community to decide which roads should remain at 30mph.
Currently, 2.5% of Welsh roads have a speed limit of 20mph, but from next year this is expected to increase to approximately 35%.
“We know this move won’t be easy – it’s as much about changing hearts and minds as it is about enforcement” – Minister for Climate Change, Julie James
Speaking after the vote, Minister for Climate Change, Julie James, said: “I am delighted that the move to 20mph has received cross-party support across the Welsh Parliament today.
“The evidence is clear, decreasing speeds not only reduces accidents and saves lives, but helps improve people’s quality of life – making our streets and communities a safer and more welcoming place for cyclists and pedestrians, whilst helping reduce our environmental impact.
“We know this move won’t be easy – it’s as much about changing hearts and minds as it is about enforcement – but over time 20mph will become the norm, just like the restrictions we’ve introduced before on carrier bag charges and organ donation.
“Once again Wales is leading the way for other UK nations to follow.”
“The Welsh Conservatives are not against introducing 20mph speed limits outside schools, playgrounds, places of worship and high streets, but a blanket roll-out is quite frankly ludicrous” – Welsh Shadow Minister for Transport, Natasha Ashgar MS
The decision comes despite some opposition. Commenting, Welsh Shadow Minister for Transport, Natasha Ashgar MS, said: “The Welsh Conservatives are not against introducing 20mph speed limits outside schools, playgrounds, places of worship and high streets, but a blanket roll-out is quite frankly ludicrous.
“It’s extraordinary that that the Labour Government has admitted this will have a negative cost of £4.54bn to the Welsh economy – is this appropriate at a time when the Labour Government should be focused on tackling the big issues at hand such as the cost-of-living? I don’t think it is, and I am sure residents across the country will be thinking the exact same.
“This is yet another diktat imposed by Labour from Cardiff Bay.
“Speed limits like this should be decided by councils in their local areas, not top-down by Labour ministers. Let’s give local people the power over their communities, the very people who know their roads best.”