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We introduced a default 20mph speed limit on restricted roads across Wales in September 2023.

First published:
8 July 2021
Last updated:

What we did

Wales was one of the first countries in the world, to pass a law changing the speed limit on restricted roads to 20mph.

Restricted roads are usually 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. Historically, these had a 30mph speed limit.

We worked with:

  • local authorities, who are responsible for county roads
  • Trunk Road Agents (TRAs), who operate the strategic road network for Welsh Government

to identify which roads could stay at 30mph. We issued guidance to help highway authorities make these decisions.

In July 2024, we provided highway authorities with new guidance to help them assess which roads the speed limit could return to 30mph

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

A map on DataMapWales shows which roads remain at 30mph. 

Road signs

Road signs tell you when you are entering a different speed limit.

Because 20mph is now the default, there will not be repeater signs. Repeater signs are the slightly smaller signs that often appear on streetlights, rather than in pairs.

Why we did it

We made 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

Early impacts

Before introducing the new speed limit, we trialled it in 8 communities across Wales:

  • 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

Overall, we found speed in these areas reduced.

You can read more in the monitoring reports on the Transport for Wales (TfW) website.

Getting the right speed on the right road

We believe that 20mph is right, it will save lives and reduce collisions and injuries. We want to make sure it is targeted on the right roads, and we need your help.

We want you to tell the relevant highway authority if you think a specific road should:

  • change from 20mph to 30mph
  • change from 30mph to 20mph
  • stay at 20mph

When giving feedback you must:

  • be clear and precise about which section of road you are talking about
  • give reasons for your views

Highway authorities will listen to your feedback and consider it alongside our revised guidance before they decide on the limit for each road.