Council set to offer residents a say on 20mph speed limit exemptions
Rory Sheehan, local democracy reporter
Flintshire residents could soon have their say on whether any county roads should be exempt from the new 20 miles per hour speed limit.
Wales is set to become the first country in the UK to introduce a default 20mph limit on all residential roads as of September 2023.
The reduction of residential roads to a 20mph speed limit was trialled in Flintshire, on unclassified roads in Buckley, Mynydd Isa, Alltami and New Brighton earlier this year but led to petitions against the proposal.
During the summer Senedd members voted to approve the Labour Welsh Government’s bid to roll-out the law.
Flintshire Council has since been contacted by Welsh Government notifying it of criteria should they wish to make certain roads exempt from the reduction.
Buckley Pentrobin Cllr Mike Peers told a meeting of the Council’s Environment scrutiny committee that he and fellow Buckley councillors had recently met with Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change about the issue.
Cllr Peers said: “We did raise our concerns.
“The county councillors’ approach is that they do want to revert some of those roads back into 30mph but they seem to be between a rock and a hard place because the Minister says the local authority is the highways authority – it’s up to you to set the speed limits.
“But on the other hand the council is looking at the criteria that’s come from Welsh Government, and I think the county council is very nervous in implementing their own speeds until such time as they deal with the main arterial roads.”
Cllr Peers proposed members take part in a workshop to discuss whether any roads in the county meet the exemption criteria.
Chairing the meeting, Shotton East and Higher Cllr David Evans (Lab) said: “With that exceptions letter that has come out recently, I think it would be useful to have a meeting before the national roll-out.
“In conversations I’ve had with other councillors, there’s confusion about what does constitute an exception.”
Cllr Evans said he would ideally like to fit a meeting in before February.
This was backed by Caergwrle Cllr David Healey (Lab), who asked for residents and road users in Flintshire to be included in consultation.
He said: “I do agree that a workshop should take place sooner rather than later.
“One facet of what we’re considering might be a more general consultation for the public of Flintshire – a strategy to consult them so that people in each ward can have the opportunity to have their say about any roads they feel it is inappropriate the 20 miles per hour speed limit should apply.
“At least we can say then that we’ve consulted the public and I think it would be useful if we could give our constituents that opportunity.”
This was accepted by the committee.
The Welsh Government has previously outlined the reasons for implementing the new legislation on its website, including links to research and evidence gathered from public surveys.
It says the measures will increase road safety and improve the environment: “The evidence is clear, decreasing speed limits reduces collisions and saves lives.
“As well as making collisions less severe when they do happen, the slower speed also increases the chances of avoiding a collision in the first place, in turn reducing the burden on the NHS.”
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