Welsh Government urged to back 20mph limits

10.01 | 19 June 2018 | | 5 comments

Circular signs show councils with 20mph community zones, heart signs show local campaigns. Image: 20’s Plenty for Us

Wales is ‘lagging behind’ the rest of the UK when it comes to reducing speed limits from 30mph to 20mph in built-up areas, according to campaign group 20’s Plenty for Us. (BBC News)

Cardiff is the only council to introduce the reduced speed limit in most of its residential streets, compared with more than 50 local authorities in England.

20’s Plenty for Us is calling on the Welsh Government to use new powers to enforce a lower speed limit.

However, the Welsh Government told BBC News that research about the impact of reducing national speed limits ‘remains inconclusive’.

Councils have the responsibility for setting local speed limits – but most in Wales have only brought in 20mph zones directly outside schools.

20’s Plenty for Us says it is supporting 400 local groups who want the limit on their residential streets cut from 30mph to 20mph.

That includes a group in Sully, Vale of Glamorgan, where campaigners say they are unable to walk around their village because so many cars travel at ‘crazy speeds’.

Image: Kaarina Ruta

Kaarine Ruta, part of the Sully campaign, said: “We really don’t feel safe and we asked police about having a fixed speed camera but we were told that wasn’t a possibility until someone was killed – and quite frankly we don’t want to wait for that to happen.”

Rod King, founder of 20’s Plenty for Us, told BBC News: “In England it’s happening in so many places – Inner London, Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol, Bath, Warrington… There are also lots of places in Scotland too.

“I’m not really sure why Wales is so behind on this. But there’s support for it and there’s now a great opportunity for Wales to catch up as the Welsh Government has the power to implement this nationally.

“It would mean they could introduce a default 20mph national speed limit and then it would be up to local councils to say which roads in their area should have a higher limit. Welsh AMs are responding very positively to the idea.”

A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: “We are continuing to consider research in this area and are working closely with the Department for Transport who have commissioned a three year research project to consider the benefits of lowering speed limits in 30mph zones.”



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    A spokesperson for Welsh Government Transport Policy confirmed again on 3 July 2018 that there are currently no plans to introduce default 20mph speed limits in urban areas in Wales.

    Too much noise and not enough substance from 20s campaigners. And I will say again that a flurry of activity from campaigners is to be expected but that should not be mistaken as progress – don’t get carried away and believe all your own PR.

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)


    I really don’t understand your last comment. I haven’t defined a “community zone”. In fact we never use the term. It somehow got into the BBC article. As I have said the 20mph roundels in the map refer to local authorities where they have adopted a 20mph limit for most roads expect (but sometimes including) arterials. We do not take account of any short 20mph limits or zones outside schools. 20mph hearts are where we have local 20’s Plenty campaigns.

    AA research shows that only 20% of child casualties are on way to or from schools so 20mph limits (or zones) just outside schools leave the other 80% of child casualties unaddressed.

    A couple of hundred metres 20mph limit outside a school benefits most the children who are driven into the area by their parents. It does little for the children walking/cycling all the way from their home to school.

    For every 20mph sign within 50m as you approach the school there is another sign on its back endorsing speeding up by 50%.

    That is not to say that a 20mph limit outside a school is a bad thing, but it we do not consider it to be as beneficial as setting a new norm of 20mph in urban and village communities and only allowing greater speeds where it is safe and appropriate to do so.

    Rod King, Lymm, Cheshire
    Agree (4) | Disagree (7)

    Thanks for that definition of a community zone Rod, much appreciated. It is much larger than I anticipated and is very relevant to the context of the map and the article. Areas/zones that large for default 20s are NOT part of the Road Safety Framework for Wales to 2020 and beyond, so that may explain why you consider we are lagging behind. I would say Wales is on measure and on target for KSI road casualty reduction (apart from motorcyclists). At least Wales has a specific KSI casualty reduction target and is achieving it irrespective of the 20s debate.

    I’m not sure which of your two groups the residential community I mentioned in the previous comment would fit. 500 or so houses over approx. 20 roads seems too big to be included as part of your ‘short limit’ group but is less than 10% of the town, so not large enough to qualify for that group either.

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (9) | Disagree (2)

    Hi Pat

    20mph roundels on the map are local authorities or towns with 20mph set for most roads across the authority. These represent about 16m people.

    20mph hearts are the local 20’s Plenty for Us campaigns. Nearly 400 of them.

    Our map does not include or attempt to include short limits or zones outside schools.

    The map is taken from our zoomable map on our website.

    Rod King, Lymm, Cheshire
    Agree (2) | Disagree (6)

    A reader could be forgiven for assuming the map in the article reflects the number of 20s in England and Wales but on closer checking that is not the case. According to the caption it just refers to the number of 20mph community zones.

    Who defines what a community zone is? If a 20mph speed limit is at a school in a community does that qualify as a community zone? If not, why not?

    Can we rely on the accuracy of the map? I don’t think so, as we have had a community area wide signed only 20mph speed limit for several years and its not on the zoomable map on 20’s Plenty website. How many others could say the same? And no Rod, I’m not interested in updating your map.

    Also, do 20’s Plenty have any maps of 20mph speed limits and zones in Wales? Probably not as there were over 560 20s in Wales when the Road Safety Framework for Wales was written in 2013 and goodness knows how many more since.

    I am happy that the two quotes from Welsh Government in the RSGB article are a fair representation of the current position. A flurry of activity from campaigners is to be expected but that should not be mistaken as progress – don’t get carried away and believe all your own PR.

    Pat, Wales
    Agree (13) | Disagree (2)

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