Wales Implements Reduced 20mph Speed Limit in Built-Up Areas

A 20 mph speed limit sign

In a groundbreaking move for the UK, speed limits in built-up areas across Wales have been reduced from 30mph to 20mph from today, Sunday, September 17.

Welsh officials argue that this 20mph limit will lower fatalities, reduce noise pollution, and promote walking and cycling. The initiative has gained support from organisations like the United Nations, environmental groups, and road safety advocates. However, it has also faced opposition, with some politicians labelling it a “war on motorists.”

Wales’ First Minister, Mark Drakeford, said the measure is designed to save lives.

He stated, “It’s going to take you a minute longer to make your journey, and we will save 10 people’s lives in Wales every year as a result of that one-minute contribution – it doesn’t seem an unfair bargain.”

This new law will modify the speed limit on approximately 35 per cent of Welsh roads where lamp-posts are spaced no more than 200 yards (183m) apart. The Welsh government, despite the £32.5 million cost of implementing the nationwide speed limit, contends that the long-term benefits outweigh the expenses.

A study even suggests potential annual savings of £92 million for the NHS and emergency services.

However, a consultation commissioned by the Welsh government revealed that more people were against the speed limit than in favour of it. Some of the government’s own documents raised concerns about the economic impact, suggesting a potential disadvantage of £4.5 billion over 30 years.

Ministers acknowledged significant uncertainty regarding this figure, with ongoing debate about its calculation.

The UK House of Commons leader, Penny Mordaunt, criticised the new 20mph limit.

She described it as “insane” and believed it was “punishing” for motorists. The Welsh Conservatives expressed support for a 20mph limit outside schools, hospitals, and care homes but deemed the blanket rollout “disastrous, frankly ludicrous, and a war on motorists”, reported The Sunday Times.

Welsh officials, on the other hand, maintain that the impact on journey times will be minimal, with drivers experiencing less than one minute of additional travel time on average per trip

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Written by

Jo Pugh

Jo Pugh is a journalist based in the Costa Blanca North. Originally from London, she has been involved in journalism and photography for 20 years. She has lived in Spain for 12 years, and is a dedicated and passionate writer.


    • Phil

      21 September 2023 • 22:45

      Hi Jo, since you covered this story perhaps you would be interested in what the people of wales actually feel about it. Watch this petition rise as wales speaks out about the 20mph impossed on us.

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