First Minister Mark Drakeford today (Thursday, September 7) visited one of the first areas in Wales to trial the new 20mph limit to learn more about the impact of the “biggest step-change in community safety in a generation.”
With just 10 days to go before the default 20mph speed limit will be introduced across Wales, the First Minister met business owners, parents and school children in St Brides Major, in the Vale of Glamorgan.
Wales will become the first part of the UK to introduce a nationwide 20mph speed limit as most residential roads, which currently have a 30mph speed limit, switch to 20mph on Sunday, September 17.
St Brides Major was one of the first trial sites for the 20mph speed limit.
While visiting the village, the First Minister met with B&B owners Chris and Julie Davies who are happy with the slower speeds and said they make a positive difference to St Brides. Local community members who were successful in campaigning for safer streets through the group Safer St Brides were also keen to share their stories during the First Minister’s visit.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
Reducing speeds not only saves lives, it helps build safer communities for everyone, including motorists - better places to live our lives.
It will help make our streets quieter, reducing noise pollution, and slower speeds will give more people the confidence to cycle and walk around their local areas and encourage children to play outdoors.
Evidence from around the world is clear – reducing speed limits reduces collisions and saves lives.
Wales will follow a similar approach taken in Spain where the speed limit on the majority of roads was changed to 30km/h in 2019.
Since then, Spain has reported 20% fewer urban road deaths, and fatalities have reduced by 34% for cyclists and 24% for pedestrians.
Research shows the 20mph default speed limit could save £92m a year by reducing the number of deaths and injuries. It could also help to reduce pressure on the NHS from a reduction in injuries from road traffic collisions.
Over the first decade, it is estimated a lower speed limit will save up to 100 lives and 20,000 casualties.
The change comes after four years of work with local authorities, police, and road safety experts to design a change in the law.
Local owner of St Bridget’s Farm B&B, Chris Davies said:
The people of St Brides have worked hard to get speeds lowered, and since the introduction of 20mph I’m pleased to say we’ve seen a noticeable difference in people travelling slower through the village and a lot less noise from speeding cars as a result.
It now feels much safer for local people, especially children, and it’s lovely for guests at our B&B to be able to enjoy being out and about in the village.
One of the campaigners for Safer St Brides, Nia Lloyd-Knott added:
The rollout of 20mph in St Brides Major has been fantastic. As a village we campaigned for slower speeds for a long time, so we were delighted to be chosen as one of the early adopters of 20mph.
The village has a lot of families who are very keen walkers and cyclists, so the introduction of slower speeds has had a huge impact for the whole village, with many more parents feeling comfortable to let their children travel to the local school independently.