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Emergency workers ‘must keep to 20mph limit’

29 Nov 2023 3 minute read
Welsh Secretary David TC Davies

Martin Shipton

A new row has broken out over the default 20mph speed limit on Welsh roads as it became clear that emergency workers would have to obey the limit when driving to their place of work even if they were due to respond to an emergency.

More than 466,000 people have signed a petition to “rescind and remove the disastrous 20mph law” – the highest number of signatures for any petition submitted to the Senedd since it was established in its former guise as the National Assembly for Wales in 1999.

Concerned

In a letter to Deputy Transport Minister Lee Waters, Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies said: “I have been contacted by someone from the emergency services who is concerned about the impact of the new 20mph on emergency service workers.

“The person I spoke to was under the impression that retained firefighters and lifeboat service volunteers will be expected to drive at the 20mph limit even if they are travelling to the fire station or lifeboat station to deal with an emergency call.

“I am certain this cannot be correct. Lives would be put at risk if emergency service workers on call outs are expected to drive at 20mph. I thought I would write to you publicly so that you could clarify the situation.”

Mr Waters responded: “Thank you for your letter on behalf of someone from the emergency services raising their concerns about the impact of the 20mph speed limit on emergency service workers.

“I can confirm we have consulted with the Police, Welsh Ambulance Service and Fire and Rescue Services in Wales, all of whom are in favour of the new 20mph limits as a means of reducing road traffic fatalities and serious injuries in our communities.

“I appreciate there are concerns regarding whether the change will affect on-call response times. However, they live and work at various locations across Wales and their response times vary accordingly. Not all of them will travel exclusively by car nor will commute solely on roads where the 20mph limit will be applied.

“Therefore, we do not foresee the default 20mph limit adversely affecting overall response times. This will of course be kept under review and we will continue to liaise with the emergency services and offer assistance where required.”

Thrown together

Mr Davies issued a statement which said: “It’s becoming clearer by the day that the Labour Welsh Government has thrown together its 20mph rollout without any serious thought or consideration.

“Labour’s latest 20mph debacle now involves firefighters and lifeboat service volunteers, who are concerned about the severe effect on-call response times could potentially be hit by.

“Waiting lists in Wales are already the worst in the UK – and volunteers are concerned that the new default speed limit will hamper the time it takes them to reach the appropriate building to then assist in an emergency.

“Labour’s recent action is a classic example of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.”


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Catherine
Catherine
6 months ago

But we DO know what the right hand is doing…it is running around Far-Right “news” programmes trying to milk as much capital as it can about something that will in a few months’ time be seen in the same light as the indoor public smoking ban… The right hand is doing this because it has no plans and is in pawn to Westminister Tories who are themselves in pawn to people whose ideologies align far more closely with Putin’s regime than it does with the values of the people of this archipelago.

Jeff
Jeff
6 months ago

ARTD due for another rant on the comedy channel?
Sorry, gbeebies.
I am sure there is a way to exempt people on a call out.

Mr Davies needs to pay attention to the government he continues to support and the many deaths attributed to this government since austerity. The figures are immense but he will not go there.

Jeff
Jeff
6 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

Ah, the PM just said at PMQ that parties that make commitments should keep them.

Mr Davies wants to go back to his master then and check that if it is in a manifesto, then it should not be done?

Joey
Joey
6 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

There is no way to exempt those on call from speed limits travelling in their own vehicles. I’m ex 999 31 years, this argument has been examined many times.

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
6 months ago

Lee Walters response is utter rubbish and does him no credit. If a child of mine is in danger of drowning i would not want the lifeboat crew rushing to save her driving at 20 mph!! The law needs to be changed to make such journeys exempt from such restrictions.

Llyn
Llyn
6 months ago

As far as I am aware the law as it stands does not allow any “emergency service” workers to speed without blue lights (which are exempt in Wales) anywhere in the UK. So the same situation the David TC Davies raises would also happen in 20mph areas in Cornwall, Bristol, Portsmouth, London….

Malcolm Jones
Malcolm Jones
6 months ago

All that horrible Man does is look for something to s**g Wales off about he never ever stands up for Wales. he must be getting points towards his house of Lord’s appointment he hopes what a creep

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
6 months ago

Okay, I can add some context to this. None of the emergency services are permitted to break the rules of the road. This is the standard starting point. In the event of them breaking the rules of the road, they are liable to prosecution, or suspension and investigation should having done so, caused harm or damage to the public. However, should investigation or prosecution find that these were reasonably avoidable accidents, the respondent may be cleared to return to work, and injury / damage claims settled by the organisation for whom they worked. This is how it has always been… Read more »

Joey
Joey
6 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

You are wrong. 999 vehicles have exceptions from several laws including speed limits when used for emergency purposes. I’m ex 999 31 years

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
6 months ago
Reply to  Joey

I am not wrong. I pretty much said the same thing, but with more context. But thanks for your input anyway.

Why vote
Why vote
6 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

The Labour oompa loompas that are wrecking Wales at the moment should take some time out WITH pay of course, should learn the song and dance to it in the sennedd as they abolish the 20 omph and stop the extension of the sennedd we don’t need more laws we don’t need to be told how to live, how to exercise, don’t need to be told how to eat I can go on and on, and we don’t need them in the sennedd any more, call an early election and let the people of Wales tell you our EMPLOYEES what… Read more »

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
6 months ago
Reply to  Why vote

That’s a lot of hyperbole. I am not your employee, what are you going on about? Did you get lost on the way to WalesOnline?

Peter
Peter
6 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

Sarah Good you’re Bad, the information you are submitting is incorrect. EMERGENCY vehicles on call are permitted to treat a Red traffic light as a give way.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
6 months ago
Reply to  Peter

Unless they cause an accident and then the process I describe is followed. My father was a paramedic.

Frank
Frank
6 months ago

Perhaps if Lee Waters’ house goes on fire or Mark Drakeford has a cardiac arrest they will rethink the urgency of these vehicles coming and going to emergencies.

Elen Wade
Elen Wade
6 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Excellent point. One rule for the Progressive Left Gaslightocracy and another for everyone else, I’m afraid.

Paul Duggan
Paul Duggan
6 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Read the other comments!!

Frank
Frank
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul Duggan

????

Roderich Heier
Roderich Heier
6 months ago

Were the fire fighters and lifeboat crew when responding to emergencies prior to the introduction of the 20mph limit entitled to exceed the speed limit?

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
6 months ago

It’s obvious that in a crisis emergency workers are not going to go 20mph in response. I’m sure under the circumstances there would be no prosecutions if they were caught. As usual the Tories are just trying to mllk as much as possible from this issue – because they have absolutely nothing else to fall back on and know they are going to get a kicking next year. Mr Davies had better start concerning himself with issues that are more important, such as the cost of living crisis, or getting Wales the £5b it’s due from HS2, or he’ll find… Read more »

Ed Thomas
Ed Thomas
6 months ago

Don’t worry! It will only take them a minute longer, the fact that minute could be the difference between a drowning or a death through smoke inhalation is neither here nor there, we will have saved the Welsh NHS millions…

Rod King MBE
6 months ago

Actually the power to set exemptions to speed limits for particular vehicles and uses has not been devolved to the Welsh Government and the responsibility is with Westminster. So if David Davies wants to amend this then he is perfectly entitled as an MP or Minister to bring it to the attentions of Parliament. After all, it his own government that did make the decision to devolve setting national speed limits to Welsh Government in the first place.

Alan Norman
Alan Norman
6 months ago

Don’t get me wrong im all for 20mph where there are schools and busy places like shopping centres but to have 20mph on other roads is absolutely in silly im a van driver who does upto 40,000 miles a year and i can’t see how the police are going to have the time to police the areas that are 20mph , when we can’t even get a police officer to call out when someone phones up and reports that there car as been vandalized or broken into all they say is if you report it you will be given a… Read more »

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