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Lives can be saved across Wales by reducing default speed limits from 30mph to 20mph, says Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport Lee Waters.

First published:
16 July 2020
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

The Deputy Minister today introduced an independent report recommending that Wales becomes the first nation in the world to adopt the bold new measure by 2023.

The result of a year-long study by a taskforce made up of police, local authorities, public health experts and other key partners such as road safety groups, the report makes 21 practical recommendations for implementation across Wales.

Lee Waters said:

“Eighty children were killed or seriously injured in Wales in the last year for which we have figures. That’s 80 families whose lives will never be the same again.

“Whilst we have made progress on reducing deaths on our roads in the 21 years of devolution, despite our considerable efforts, there are still 4,000 accidents which result in injuries every year in Wales.

“The evidence is clear, reducing speed reduces accidents. It saves lives.

“Slower speeds in our communities improves quality of life too.

“According to the British Crime Survey, speeding traffic was rated as the most serious anti-social problem.

“Furthermore, fear of traffic tops the list of parent worries, with children kept closer to home, reducing their independence, and leading to the vicious spiral of increased danger, as more people drive their children to school. This, in turn, amplifies health inequalities.

The report recommends turning the current Traffic Regulation Orders process on its head. Instead of the default speed limit being 30mph, with communities needing to make the case to go lower, the default speed limit will become 20mph, with a case needing to be made to go higher. Crucially it will be for communities, and local authorities, to decide which roads should remain at 30mph.

The Deputy Minister added:

“Even a 1mph drop in average speeds is likely to see a 6% drop in casualties.

“This is as much about changing hearts and minds as it is about hard enforcement. Over time 20mph will become the norm - just like the restrictions on smoking inside businesses, the carrier bag charge and organ donation.