Wales’ 20mph speed limit to revert to 30mph

April 20, 2024 by

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As a result of nearly half a million people signing a petition against legislation from the Welsh government for the default speed limit in residential and built-up areas to drop to 20mph, it is going to revert to 30 mph on some roads. Read on for all you need to know.

On 17 September 2023, the default speed limit in Wales dropped from 30mph to 20mph in built-up and residential areas, but after nearly half a million people signed a petition opposing the policy, the limit on some roads in Wales will revert to 30mph.

Cabinet Secretary for the Welsh government, Ken Skates said: “The Welsh Government will listen to the people of Wales and work with councils to deliver targeted change to the implementation of 20mph.

Nearly half a million people signed the petition to reverse the decision to introduce a 20mph speed limit on certain roads in Wales has proved controversial

“We’ve started by listening. I have been clear in all my conversations that we will put communities at the heart of our thinking and will listen to people.

“As I have already said there is growing consensus on safe speeds in communities that we can build from. We continue to believe 20mph is the right speed limit in places such as near schools, hospitals, nurseries, community centres, play areas and in built-up residential areas.

“The principal objective of the policy is to save lives and reduce casualties on our roads.  What I am doing now is listening to what people want for the roads in their communities, and pressing ahead with refining the policy and getting the right speed on the right roads.”

Ken Skates, Cabinet Minister for the government of Wales

“Ultimately, the degree of change in each of our 22 local authority areas will not be determined by me and the Welsh Government, but by the public and by councils as the highway authority for most residential roads,” added Ken Skates.

The 20mph limit may stay in place near to schools and hospitals, etc. Further details of the reversion of the legislation will be announced in the Welsh parliament on Tuesday 23 April, 2024.

Read Carwow’s reaction when Wales introduced the default speed limit of 20mph.

Concerns have been raised about how much it will cost to change the 20mph limit back to 30mph.

Reactions to the 20mph limit being reversed to 30mph include the RAC, whose road safety spokesperson, Rod Dennis said: “This decision will please a great many drivers in Wales, but it’s a shame so many roads that should have always remained at 30mph were unnecessarily converted to 20mph.

“More public money now needs to be spent changing signs back at time when funds are already stretched. We are very supportive of 20mph limits being implemented in places where there’s a greater presence of pedestrians and cyclists as they are proven to reduce road casualties, but when used on roads that are clearly better suited to 30mph, there’s a risk drivers don’t obey the limit and their effectiveness is undermined.

“Among those who admit to speeding on 20mph roads, RAC research shows half (50%) of drivers say they do so because they feel the limit is inappropriate. This compares to just 28% of drivers who say they exceed the 30mph limit for the same reason.”

Reasons given for exceeding the speed limit: RAC Report on Motoring 2023

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