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Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport

First published:
17 February 2021
Last updated:

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

Today, I want to update the Senedd on the progress with our plans to reduce the speed limit in 30mph areas to 20mph.

In November we funded a national public attitude survey of 1000 people living in Wales aged 16 or over. 

Although the data is still being analysed the initial findings show strong support for Welsh Government’s plan to reduce speed limits in residential communities to 20mph, especially among parents or those with children in the household. 

When asked what they would like the speed limit on their street to be, 92% of those who said they’d like to see a change, suggested a speed limit of 20mph or lower limit and 77% wanted to see this speed limit applied throughout the area in which they live. 

There was also high agreement (72%) on the need for proper enforcement by the police for 20mph limit to work.

When I accepted the 20mph Task Force’s recommendations there was a commitment to trial 20mph speed limits in eight settlements across Wales. This will allow us to overcome any unforeseen issues before we press forward with the national roll-out in April 2023.

I was extremely pleased with the response from local authorities to our invitation to take part in the trials. Twelve local authorities have put forward applications and following our assessment of those applications we will be progressing with the following initiatives. 

There will be eight pilot areas where we will trial 20mph on restricted roads – roads that currently have a 30mph restriction and have street lighting.  These settlements are:

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

Alongside these pilots the rest of Llanelli will become a monitoring settlement where the speed limit remains unchanged. This will allow us to capture long term data on compliance, casualties and active travel, as well as economic, environmental and health impacts, both pre and post the change in the national default speed limit to 20 mph.

Other settlements in Ynys Môn, Gwynedd and Powys, as well as some in the same counties as the selected Pilot Schemes, will also be used to trail processes and provide feedback on public consultation communication and marketing. 

All the new 20 mph speed limits will be made by way of new Traffic Orders and those affected will be consulted using the statutory processes. Subject to a positive outcome from the consultation, the pilots will have a phased start, from summer 2021, until the end of the year. 

The Pilot Settlements will also be used to develop an enforcement strategy with the police and GoSafe so enforcement arrangements will be in place for the national roll out of the 20 mph national default speed limit throughout Wales in April 2023.  

We have made progress on reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads over the 21 years of devolution, but despite our considerable efforts the highest proportion of all casualties (50%) occurred on 30mph roads during 2018. This cannot be tolerated, so a reduction to 20 mph on our residential and other busy pedestrian urban roads has to be the way forward.

Decreasing speeds reduces accidents and saves lives, and alongside this the quality of life will improve, making room on our streets for safer active travel. This helps reduce our environmental impact and has a positive outcome for our physical and mental wellbeing.

This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep Members informed. Should Members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns, I would be happy to do so.