20mph speed limit ‘could save Wales £100 million in first year’

12.07 | 7 November 2022 | | 4 comments

Image: Welsh Government

The new 20mph default speed limit in Wales could save £100m in its first year as deaths and injuries are reduced, according to new research.

The Welsh Government will introduce a default 20mph speed limit on restricted roads across Wales in September 2023. Restricted roads include those with street lights and are usually located in residential and built up areas with high pedestrian activity.

The new research, conducted by the Transport Research Institute (TRI) at Edinburgh Napier University, in conjunction with Public Health Wales, estimates the default 20mph speed limit will save around £100 million in the first year alone.

The estimated cost saving is the direct result of fewer deaths and injuries – with predictions that the lower limit will save more than 100 lives over a decade and 14,000 casualties in total could be avoided.

Lee Waters, deputy minister for climate change, said: “The evidence from around the world is very clear – reducing speed limits reduces collisions and saves lives.

“Slower speeds also create a safer and more welcoming environment, giving people the confidence to walk and cycle more, which will help to improve our health and wellbeing and help to improve the environment.

“This new research shows the savings in terms of reductions in people being hurt or killed but the benefits of 20mph stretch much further than casualty savings alone. The report suggests the lower speed limit will help encourage physical activity and in turn reduce obesity, stress and anxiety.”

Meanwhile, a new independent public attitude survey, conducted by Beaufort Research on behalf of the Welsh Government, shows the majority of respondents support a new lower speed limit.

Almost two-thirds of people surveyed said they would support a 20mph speed limit where they lived and 62% said they wanted everyone to slow down on the roads.

When asked about safety, 64% of people said that 20mph speed limits “makes it safer for pedestrians”; 57% agreed that 20mph means “fewer serious collisions on the roads” and almost half (47%) thought 20mph would make it safer for cyclists.

Lee Waters added: “As with any change we know it will take time for people to adapt. But I’m pleased to see the early indications show a majority of people are in favour of 20mph, and I am confident that if we all work together, we can make the necessary changes that will benefit us now and in the future.”



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    Thanks for your comment Paula. But this is a site for grown-ups and we do know a few things about the subject.

    There is a key difference between a consultation and a survey. A consultation is self-selecting respondents and so are not a representative cross-section of the public. Surveys on the other hand are designed to represent a cross-section of the public and therefore provide a far more accurate pi9cture of public opinion.

    We are also used to providing links to claims. So if you have a link about this “disproportionate casualties” on 20mph roads then please provide it.

    Perhaps the same for “For every trial he can quote there are plenty where 20mph has resulted in far more accidents.” Its just that we do know about the 20-40% reductions in Bath, Calderdale, Edinburgh, Cheshire West and Chester, etc so your information will be useful. Oh, and we tend to call them “crashes” rather than “accidents”. A small point I know but it does make a difference.

    And most of us know that in urban/village environments the speed between junctions, hazards, crossing, parked cars etc has little effect on journey times.

    If you can do that then we can have a sensible discussion.

    Many thanks

    Rod King, Lymm, Cheshire
    Agree (35) | Disagree (11)

    I do tend to agree with and find that slower speeds allow drivers more time to observe, but still pedestrians do still walk out between cars and other road furniture that obscures them with the modern practice of wearing ‘ear pods’. Once I’ve reacted and with my heart in my mouth, they’ve carried on without even noticing me. Whatever happened to the Green Cross Code or even The Kerb Drill of earlier years? Safety is everyones concern not just motorised vehicle concern.

    Stephen Guckel, Trowbridge, Wiltshire.
    Agree (7) | Disagree (2)

    Unfortunately, a 20 speed limit does not necessarily result in vehicle speeds of below 20 mph! The headline perhaps should be “vehicles driving under 20mph in residential areas could save x amount of pounds…”

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (6) | Disagree (2)

    This is an incredibly misleading story put out by Welsh Gov.
    1) The actual Welsh Gov consultation showed that 53% of residents did not want a new blanket 20mph limit. They are seemingly wiping the results of their own research off the face of the earth. Disgusting. https://roadsafetygb.org.uk/news/consultation-suggests-public-views-split-on-wales-default-20mph-limit/

    2) If this is a new consultation by Beaufort, how was the respondent selection made? I track Welsh Gov consultations, hadn’t seen this new one… funny that. Therefore.. utterly meaningless research to simply back their preferred view.

    3) Lee Waters is unable to give real evidence that this will reduce accidents as it’s never been done before on this scale. It’s reckless. For every trial he can quote there are plenty where 20mph has resulted in far more accidents. Also, the actual UK Gov stats show that there are disproportionately more accidents in 20 roads than any other road. I have given him and all other AMs involved this information and they’ve just ignored it.

    4) As for cost savings… how ridiculous. First of all you have to buy into their lies that it will reduce accidents, it won’t. Then you have to blindly ignore the cost of longer journeys. Well I don’t accept that and other analysis has shown that there is a cost benefit ratio of 0.3 and it will cost the country billions rather than save money… particularly as accidents will go up not down.

    When this eventually plays out, I think we need to see some people lose their seats and never work in government again. Reckless.

    Paula Dauncey, Cardiff
    Agree (14) | Disagree (40)

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