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Council rejects calls for review of new 20mph speed limit

27 Sep 2023 3 minute read
20mph signs in Newport. Photo via Google

Nicholas Thomas, local democracy reporter

A council leader has dismissed a call to review the recent switch to a 20mph default speed limits.

Jane Mudd, the leader of Newport Council, said the Welsh Government policy would improve road safety and noted several other European nations had already “extensively” lowered speed limits in built-up areas.

The new law came into effect on 17 September, cutting the default speed limit on so-called restricted roads from 30mph to 20mph.

Restricted roads are typically routes in built-up areas with streetlights.

At a full council meeting on Tuesday, opposition leader Matthew Evans called the policy a “fiasco” which had caused “anger and confusion” for drivers.

He said tens of thousands of people from Newport had signed a Senedd petition urging the Welsh Government to reverse its 20mph decision.

Cllr Evans, who formerly led the council, said his administration had taken a “pragmatic” approach to cutting speeds to 20mph around “schools and accident blackspots”.

But Cllr Mudd said she was concerned with “contemporary” policy, and 120 countries had signed a declaration in 2020 committing to lower speed limits in built-up areas.

Misinformation

She attacked “misinformation” in Wales and said there was “no such thing” as a “blanket” speed limit.

Councils were given powers to make some roads exempt from the 20mph default if they could argue roads were suitable to remain at 30mph.

But Cllr Evans said some roads – such as Risca Road – would “not ever meet the strict criteria to amend”.

His request for Newport City Council to “carry out a review to see how effective this policy has been in a few months’ time” was not accepted by the leader.

Meanwhile, a senior Gwent Police officer present at the meeting said the force would stop speeders but would focus on educating drivers in the first few months of the new law.

“It is business as normal, whether it’s 30mph or 20mph, we will look to enforce,” Superintendent Jason White said, while acknowledging the Welsh Government’s new law “was only introduced… last week”.

“I think it’s fair in saying there is going to be a fair deal of discretion that’s going to be used, I would suggest in the next six to 12 months, mainly focusing, largely speaking around education [and] raising awareness – not necessarily enforcement to begin with,” he explained.

“I think there needs to be a balanced approach to something that’s just landed on our laps.

“I think we need to be pragmatic and sensible in the way that we deal with that.”


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Del
Del
6 months ago

I thought councils were there to do what the people want not impose rules on the people.
They seem to have forgotten who they work for.

Ifangoch
Ifangoch
6 months ago
Reply to  Del

It would appear that rather than listening to those who shout the loudest they are listening to the silent majority.

Lockett
Lockett
6 months ago
Reply to  Ifangoch

If they are silent, how do we know that they are the majority?

Pmb
Pmb
6 months ago
Reply to  Del

You do t understand, they know best , despite being a collection of third rate failures these people are wholly qualified to tell you what to do , forgetting who places them in position , sadly The Welsh tendency to vote like sheep means they know they can do as they wish , backwards facing Wales , again !

pass
pass
6 months ago

I thought councillors were there for the people.

TomTom82
TomTom82
6 months ago

Democracy in action again. Even local councils have a duty to consider this new law an ass, which it is. In any sane and fair society you listen to the majority. When you pander to the minority you’re actively ignoring the majority.

Taliesyn West
Taliesyn West
6 months ago

Payback time at the next election. Make your vote count. 23 years of Welsh Labour and we are regressing as a nation. A one party state is unhealthy.

460k and counting.

Welsh Labour – it’s not working.

Roger moor
Roger moor
6 months ago

No worry Wales will lose millions in holiday revenue

Alun Gerrard
Alun Gerrard
6 months ago

Such power to ignore the majority is asking for trouble. Any serving councillor should declare if he or she is a member of a political party. Being a member creates a conflict of interest…do they follow the people or the party?

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