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Campaigners urge Senedd to back legislation reducing speed limits in Wales

08 Jul 2022 3 minute read
20mph speed limit. Picture by the Welsh Government.

Wales’ leading active travel organisations are calling on Members of the Senedd to vote in favour of legislation to reduce speed limits next week.

Living Streets Cymru, Sustrans Cymru and Cycling UK are all backing proposals to make Wales the first nation in the world to adopt a 20mph default speed limit on residential streets.

The Senedd will debate the introduction of 20mph default speed limits on restricted roads in Wales next Tuesday.

If the legislation is passed, many roads which currently operate as 30mph zones will reduce the speed limit to 20mph.

Over the past year, Welsh Government has piloted a scheme in eight areas across Wales, where 20mph speed limits have been introduced on some residential roads.

Research shows pedestrians are 40 per cent less likely to die when hit by a car travelling at 20mph compared with one travelling at 30mph.


If someone is struck by a vehicle at 20mph their chance of survival is up to 97 per cent.

This decreases with every mile driven faster. There is also evidence that casualties are reduced when 20mph limits are introduced and that 20mph limits lead to more walking and cycling and lower noise levels.

Researchers at Public Health Wales estimate that if all current 30mph limit roads in Wales became 20mph roads, between 1200–2000 casualties would avoided each year.

In November 2020, a Welsh Government national survey found that 80 per cent of participants supported the plans, in particular parents or those with children in the household.

Stephen Edwards, Chief Executive, Living Streets, said: “This would be life-changing legislation because slower speeds will improve the places where we live, work and go to school.

“When the speed limit is reduced from 30mph to 20mph there is typically an average decline in casualties of at least 20%.

“There are also benefits in terms of reduced noise and safer and more cohesive communities that are more pleasant to live in. People are also likely to be encouraged to walk or cycle more, which is good for their health and pollution levels.

“It’s simple: slower speeds save lives – and I urge Members of the Senedd to support the 20mph in the vote.”

Christine Boston, Director, Sustrans Cymru, added: “We believe that everyone in Wales should have access to safe streets.

“Making 20mph default limits in our communities will help to reduce the dominance of motor vehicles whilst creating opportunities for social interaction, creating happier and healthier places.

“We want communities that are built for safety rather than speed.”

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Phil Jones
Phil Jones
1 year ago

Every road that has a house near to be 20mph? Bonkers

1 year ago

Mae angen hyn.Lle dwi’n byw mae gyrrwyr ddim yn deall 30 mph ac yn mynd 50mya heb un cyfrifoldeb.Mae mor andd croesi’r ffordd i’r siopau a Swyddfa Post yn y pentre.Ac nid oes unman i groesi’n ddiogel.Angen bod yn fwy llym am nifer o resymau.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

Speaking littorially here, this is essential for seaside resorts where preoccupied adults, children, infants in pushchairs and dogs suspend their adherence to the green cross code on a regular basis. While through traffic is often in a hurry and delivery vehicles mount pavements to avoid holding up wheeled traffic and pavements are often narrow, the safety of pedestrians should be paramount. 20 miles per hour is long over due. Cars towing caravans and campers have extra large wing mirrors that extend over the pavement and regularly knock people flying, I have witnessed this many times myself and most times the… Read more »

Llŷn expat
Llŷn expat
1 year ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Littoral-ly surely?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago
Reply to  Llŷn expat


Llŷn expat
Llŷn expat
1 year ago

Not to detract from what is a good policy to implement, but these “active travel” organisations are largely funded by the Welsh Govt (at least for their activities in Wales, I know Sustrans operates across the rest of the country as well). I don’t think it’s good for our democracy that there are government-funded bodies cheerleading for the proposed policies of the government.

Ap Kenneth
1 year ago

Until all vehicles are electric with automatic recognition of the speed limit and ability to stick to that limit, compliance will be patchy with old style ICE vehicles easily slipping over 20mph and requiring a lot of concentration.
If 20mph is sensible in a urban setting why are electric bikes limited to 16mph, surely they should have ability to move at same speed as other motorised traffic which would be safer for all..

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