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Drakeford reiterates defence of new 20mph speed limit

26 Sep 2023 4 minute read
First Minister, Mark Drakeford

Mark Drakeford has again defended the controversial 20mph speed limit on residential roads across Wales and denied there are plans to adjust any other national speed limits.

Earlier this month, Wales became the first country in the UK to drop the default speed limit from 30mph to 20mph for restricted roads.

Mark Drakeford told the Senedd the Welsh Government’s priority was road safety and saving lives.

“At the heart of the case for moving to 20mph speed limits as a default in built-up residential areas is road safety,” he told the Senedd.

“This is a measure that will save lives and that is the basis on which we will continue to defend a measure which only last week the leading academic journal in this field said was the most significant public health measure to have been attempted in the UK for nearly 20 years.”

Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd, said 430,000 people had signed a Senedd petition against the 20mph policy, while just 3,000 had signed an alternative in favour.

“I don’t disparage anyone who signs a petition whether it has several hundred thousand or a few thousand, but the deputy climate change minister said on Friday night in a tweet that the 440,000 signatures to that petition were anti-road safety. Do you agree with him?,” Mr Davies asked the First Minister.

Mr Drakeford replied: “I think that all petitions should be taken seriously and that is exactly how the different petitions in relation to the 20mph zones will be viewed by this Government.

“It is through the Senedd and the petitions committee to respond.”

Mr Davies again told Mr Drakeford that the deputy climate change minister, Lee Waters, had called people who had signed the petition as “anti-road safety”.

“It’s not against road safety – it’s actually highlighting people’s genuine concerns about the way this policy has been implemented and their concerns about how it will unfold in their communities,” he said.

“I take it from the points that you’ve made that you don’t regard this petition as anti-road safety and you look at it as a genuine means for people to express themselves and express the concerns they’ve had.

“One thing that is highlighted again by interacting with people who have concerns over the proposals that the Welsh Government has implemented is will this affect other national speed limits in this country?

“So can you confirm that there are no plans from the Welsh Government to adjust any of the other national speed limits here in Wales before the next Senedd elections in 2026.”

Misled

Mr Drakeford replied: “So let me make this absolutely clear to people who may have been misled by information that purports to inform them about plans in Wales but does no such thing.

“We’re very used in Wales on a single journey moving from a speed limit that might be 40mph, 50mph, 60mph or 70mph.

“None of those are changed by this policy and there are no plans to do so.

“This is a policy designed to make a default position of 30mph of 20mph on roads which serve built up residential areas with scope for local authorities to retain 30mph where they believe that that is the right thing to do.”

The Welsh Government has said that cutting the speed limit would protect lives and save the NHS in Wales £92 million a year.

It is predicting the change would save up to 100 lives and 20,000 casualties in the first decade.

Not all 30mph roads will see their speed limits reduced as councils have the power to exempt certain roads from the scheme.

The project is costing around £33 million to implement and has proven controversial, with reports of the new 20mph signs being defaced in areas including Conwy, Gwynedd, Newport, Torfaen, Wrexham and Flintshire.

The Welsh Conservatives have opposed the scheme and cited Welsh Government documents that estimate the cost to the Welsh economy of increased journey times from lower average vehicle speeds at anywhere between £2.7 billion and £8.9 billion.


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Silenced!
Silenced!
5 months ago

And so he should defend it. It’s a good policy. This has made barely discernable differences to my journey times. It’s easy and people are safer. A discredited petition full of multiposting people inside and outside of Cymru was created WAY AFTER the issue was settled. We should not waste public money just because the Tories decided late in the day to withdraw their previous support and try to turn it into a wedge issue.

Tracy lewis
Tracy lewis
5 months ago
Reply to  Silenced!

Surly the waste of public money has come from the 33m spent on signage which would have been better spent improving public transport which in turn could reduce traffic on the roads improving safety, air quality etc !

Lynne Gr7
Lynne Gr7
4 months ago
Reply to  Silenced!

Get your facts right …..the petition has been signed mainly by people living in WAles.

Iago Traferth
Iago Traferth
5 months ago

Driving from Pontardawe to Brechfa and on to Aberaeron and Machynlleth. In places I thought the new limits were excellent. In other places I had not a clue what the speed limit was.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago

As far as I’m concerned Gwynedd have got the 20mph business just right…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

They have used common sense and kept them to a minimum…

Silenced!
Silenced!
5 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Indeed. Gwynedd is quite rural for the most part and 20mph is not as neccessary. I’m guessing just a little around town centres and schools?
It’s almost like ARTy Davies was LYING about a blanket 20mph limit

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago
Reply to  Silenced!

So many villages where the primary schools have been closed have remained 30mph, every cloud…

It is essential for the coastal resorts like Abermaw and busy tourist spots like Betws-y-Coed etc…

Last edited 5 months ago by Mab Meirion
saveenergy
saveenergy
5 months ago

We’ve all been misled by information from Drakeford for many years !! Take the claim that – ” analysis shows the 20mph limit is working and journey times just 45 seconds longer.” Taking the difference of 45 seconds longer for a journey at 20mph compared with the same journey at 30mph you can calculate that the journeys used to make this assertion were only ~0.75 miles long.  Who on earth gets their car out for a 0.75 mile journey with today’s fuel costs and the multifarious penalties awaiting the unwary motorist. * & the claim that – in Covid it… Read more »

Silenced!
Silenced!
5 months ago
Reply to  saveenergy

Yeah! You’re misinterpreting the facts here. 20mph is mainly applied around schools, urban distributors and individual residential streets, not the entire journey. MOST journeys except perhapsd taxi drivers, have a little bit of 20mph to get out of their estate, and a little bit of 20mph to get into their destination. 0.75mi seems about the right amount of 20mph on a typical journey. Perhaps you should not condemn y Prifathro when he put out the correct statistics but you did not understand them

Tracy lewis
Tracy lewis
5 months ago
Reply to  Silenced!

Misrepresenting the facts seems to be the order of the day from all parties then!

Jeff
Jeff
5 months ago

Mr davies wants rule by petition or democracy? We need to get a petition set up that says mr davies should wear a clown nose and shoes to every senedd meeting.

hdavies15
hdavies15
5 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

…….With his dick sticking out of his forehead !

David Thomas
David Thomas
4 months ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Just like your beloved lefty leader, if all else fails thrown in the personal insults

adopted cardi
adopted cardi
5 months ago

all this fuss about a piddling 20mph limit where its needed- would be even better to have 10mph in some places. Just shows how much Wales has been drawn into the Tory/English rat race.
All these speed merchants – none of them are what I’d call a driver. They need to go and sit in a darkened room for a couple of hours, and calm down!
And thats a bit of friendly advice from a former long distance lorry driver.

Tracy lewis
Tracy lewis
5 months ago
Reply to  adopted cardi

Can I ask what the ‘English rat race’ here is? This is a debate about a Welsh Senedd policy!

adopted cardi
adopted cardi
5 months ago
Reply to  Tracy lewis

“tory / english”- thatcher brought it in 44 years ago for Britain – “productivity, productivity productivity”. Unless you are old enough to remember you maybe wouldn’t have a clue ! I’m one of those who came here then, back in the 80s, to get away from it all. Sorry to say it is gradually taking over here, so thank god somebody is putting the brakes on, literally.
And if you are one of those who don’t like socialist policies then why not go and live somewhere they are not implemented !

David Thomas
David Thomas
4 months ago
Reply to  adopted cardi

There is not a place in the world where socialist/communist police’s work. Not unless comrade Drakeford, a Corbin supporter and you believe Venezuela is a success story.

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