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Reduction of speed limit on residential streets a priority for Welsh Government

PLANS to reduce the national default speed limit in Wales from 30mph to 20mph on residential roads and busy pedestrian streets will form part of the Welsh Government’s legislative priorities for this year, Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters has confirmed.

If passed, Wales will be the first country in the UK to introduce the change which will play an instrumental role in helping to save lives, protect our communities and improve quality of life for everyone.

The first phase of this change is being rolled out in eight communities across Wales this year in order to gather data and develop a best practice approach before the proposed full rollout in 2023. As part of this approach the Welsh Government has today launched a consultation for people to have their say on the change before the necessary legislation is laid. The consultation will run for 12 weeks and will come to an end on 30 September.

Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters said:

“Making 20mph the default speed limit on busy pedestrian streets and in residential areas across Wales is a bold step that brings about significant benefits.

“Not only does it save lives, but it also helps to make our streets a safer and more welcoming place for cyclists and pedestrians, has a positive outcome for our physical and mental wellbeing and with fewer vehicles on the road helps create a positive impact on the environment.

“We know this move won’t be easy – it’s as much about changing hearts and minds as it is about hard enforcement – but over time 20mph will become the norm, just like the restrictions we’ve introduced before on carrier bag change, smoking inside businesses and organ donation.”

The village St Brides Major in the Vale of Glamorgan is one of the areas taking part in the first phase. Teachers and pupils from the local primary school have welcomed the move and have played an active part in the rollout.

Headteacher of St Brides Major Church in Wales Primary School, Duncan Mottram, said:

“Both the school and local community are delighted to be playing such a prominent role in this exciting initiative. Reducing the speed limit on our roads will make them safer and also help to promote alternative, greener forms of transport like walking and cycling.

“Pupils have been involved in this project from the start, taking part in a competition to design road signs that appear around the village, while a local residents’ group has also made their support clear from the outset.

“We are proud to be one of the pilot schemes for this new lower speed limit and we look forward to it being rolled out across the country.”

Contact Information

Sian Reynolds

0300 0253 031


Notes to editors

Public consultation links: English version / Welsh version
In November the Welsh Government funded a national public attitude survey of 1000 people living in Wales aged 16 or over to assess introducing a 20mph default speed on restricted roads in Wales. The findings of the report are published on the Welsh Government website. Findings show strong support for Welsh Government’s plan to reduce speed limits in residential communities to 20mph, especially among parents or those with children in the household.
An Enforcement Strategy has been agreed with the Police and GoSafe, which will be trailed in the first phase, and forms part of the GoSafe objectives for 21/22.

We have made progress on reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads over the 21 years of devolution, but despite our considerable efforts the highest proportion of all casualties, 52%, occurred on 30mph roads during 2019.
The risk of being killed is almost 5 times higher in collisions between a car and a pedestrian at 31mph compared to the same type of collisions at 18.6mph.
In 2018 the OECD9 reported that research consistently shows that lower speeds reduce deaths and injuries, not least because there is more time to react.
Pilot areas and planned start dates:

Pembrokeshire (St Dogmaels) – Live
Carmarthenshire (Llanelli North) – Mid July.
Vale of Glamorgan (St Brides Major) – Live
Cardiff (NW Cardiff) – September.
Neath/Port Talbot (Cilfrew Village) – September.
Monmouthshire (Abergavenny & Severnside) – Jan/Feb 2022.
Flintshire (Buckley) – TBC

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