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There was a different look and feel for children on their trips to school this morning following the introduction of the new 20 mph speed limit.

First published:
18 September 2023
Last updated:

On 17 September (yesterday) Wales became the first UK nation to introduce a new default 20mph speed limit on most residential roads across the country.  

This change is expected to save up to 100 lives and 20,000 casualties in the first decade and will help to create communities where children feel safe to play freely.

Pupils from Albany Primary School and Ysgol Sant Elfod Primary School were joined on their walk to school by Deputy Climate Change Minister, Lee Waters and the Minister for North Wales, Lesley Griffiths respectively.

Speaking to the children and teachers, Ministers got to hear first-hand what a difference the slower speeds will make, not just outside the school gates but also in their everyday lives. Children also took part in an exercise to learn about the benefits of walking, cycling and scooting with active travel organisations Living Streets and Sustrans.

Deputy Minister for Climate Change with a responsibility for transport, Lee Waters said:

“It’s simple – slower speeds save lives and helps create safer communities for those that live there.

“Evidence shows that a vehicle travelling at 30mph will still be travelling at 24mph in the time it would take a car travelling 20mph to stop.

“We know decisions like this can be unpopular and we know that change is never easy, but what’s one minute on your journey time if it saves a life and reduces a lifetime of human misery for families affected.”

Minister for North Wales, Lesley Griffiths added: 

“By becoming the first nation in the UK to adopt 20mph speed limits, Wales is part of a growing global movement helping ensure roads in built-up areas are safer.

“Evidence shows lower speeds result in fewer collisions and help save lives and I hope this change to the law will encourage more people to walk or cycle to places they would have previously driven.”

Albany  Primary School is located on a very busy high street in Cardiff. Headteacher, Wil Howlett, welcomes the new reduced speed limit. He said:

“We are delighted to see speed limits being reduced. Many of our pupils have a very busy commute to school having to negotiate high volumes of traffic and parked cars.

Reducing the speed limit will not only help make this journey safer but will also help to encourage more children and their parents to walk and cycle.”

Headteacher of Ysgol Sant Elfod Primary School, in Abergele, Gwynne Vaughan is also pleased that slower speeds have been introduced. He said:  

“Having slower speed limits on the journey to school is hugely important for the safety of our pupils, their parents and guardians.

“We believe that the new default speed limit will make it safer for people travelling to school and make the journey more enjoyable.

“Hopefully, more people will be encouraged to travel to school by walking, scooting or cycling. It will also give our school community a better opportunity to connect with each other socially, too. Ultimately, 20mph speed limits save lives and make our communities nicer places to live.”