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We are introducing a default 20mph speed limit on restricted roads across Wales, from 17 September 2023.

First published:
8 July 2021
Last updated:

Restricted roads are usually located in residential and built-up areas where there are lots of people. They often have street lights on them, placed no more than 200 yards apart.

We are making this change to:

  • reduce the number of collisions and severe injuries from them (also reducing the impact on the NHS from treating the people who are injured)
  • encourage more people to walk and cycle in our communities
  • help to improve our health and well-being
  • make our streets safer
  • safeguard the environment for future generations.

Wales will be one of the first countries in the world, and the first nation in the UK, to introduce legislation to have a default 20mph speed limit on roads where cars mix with pedestrians and cyclists. 

Next steps

We are working with highway authorities, Trunk Road Agents (TRAs), responsible for the strategic road network, and local authorities, who are responsible for county roads.

We recognise not all roads with a currently at 30mph limit will be suitable to change to 20mph. These roads will be known as exceptions. Local Authorities will consider with their communities which roads should remain at 30mph and there will be 30mph signs to tell you this. 
We have published a map on DataMapWales that shows which roads would stay at 30mph. 

All highway authorities must follow the statutory process on traffic regulation Orders to make exceptions. 

Early impacts

Eight communities were selected as first phase settlements to introduce 20mph speed limits:

  • St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire
  • Llanelli North, Carmarthenshire
  • St Brides Major, Vale of Glamorgan
  • Central North, Cardiff
  • Cilfrew Village, Neath Port Talbot
  • Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
  • Severnside, Monmouthshire
  • Buckley, Flintshire

You can read the first monitoring report detailing some of the impacts the introduction of 20mph has had in these communities. Overall speed has reduced in these areas.