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Lee Waters reflects on 20mph speed limit rollout

25 Oct 2023 3 minute read
Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change

Emily Price

Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters has reflected on the rollout of the default 20mph speed limit which came into force in Wales a month ago.

On Tuesday (October 24), along with the Minister for Climate Change, Julie James MS, Mr Waters met with leaders, cabinet members and transport officers from across Wales to discuss the implementation of 20mph in their areas.

He said: “This was an opportunity to reflect on the nationwide roll-out, share good practice, and explore opportunities for collaboration. I also placed on record my heartfelt thanks to our partners in local government for their continued support.

“They have dealt with a colossal task: the culmination of years of debate and discussion, extensive trials, and many months of intensive preparatory work ahead of the Wales-wide launch on 17 September.

“That is partly a logistical challenge. Changing road signs at this pace and scale is an unprecedented undertaking and that has been compounded by the totally unacceptable vandalism of signs we have seen in some places.

“This action will not lead to a change in the policy and the default speed limit but is a waste of scarce resources and officer time when councils are contending with a range of different pressures.”

Support

Mr Waters said the rollout which came officially into force on restricted roads on September 17 was an “important change”, but, he added it will “take some time to bed in”.

The new default speed limit has been met with both support and fierce opposition with a Senedd petition calling for the limit to be removed so far reaching over 460,000 signatures.

The speed limit change has also been met with opposition from the Welsh Conservatives who forced a vote in the Senedd in an attempt to block the new default limit coming into force.

The Deputy Minister said: “Despite calls from some, the message from highway authorities in Wales has been very clear – we want to allow time for the new speeds to settle before making changes to the exceptions guidance.

“We will respect that feedback and have agreed to work collaboratively with local highway authorities to reflect on the application of the guidance in different parts of Wales.

“We will also look at the approach taken to roads on the threshold between 20mph and 30mph, as well as supporting councils where they are keen to rapidly address obvious anomalies.

This work, and our wider dialogue with local authorities on the implementation of 20mph, will help establish whether clarifications are needed to encourage greater consistency across Wales, and we will aim to share learnings and feedback by the end of the year.

“I’m also grateful for the continued support of Phil Jones – and the expert panel he leads – for their offer to provide advice and support directly to local authorities, over this post-implementation period.

“Finally, we have agreed to be flexible with the funding available to councils this financial year, and the next, so that they have the resources they need to continue supporting the delivery of this important change.”


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Dai
Dai
8 months ago

What a stupid idea it was to roll out this idiotic blanket 20mph limit. A ridiculous and expensive idea. Lee Waters is deluded.

Sally-Anne
Sally-Anne
8 months ago
Reply to  Dai

Not a blanket speed limit, you can keep saying it is, but it isn’t…and, as I am sure you recall from the article, the whole thing was rigorously researched. So ask yourself a question about delusions and what the word “delusion” actually means would be my entirely unsolicited advice to you.

A.Redman
A.Redman
8 months ago
Reply to  Sally-Anne

“rigorously researched” Where are the actual verifiable facts?

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
8 months ago
Reply to  A.Redman

In the research. Just because someone hasn’t delivered the statistics to you on a golden platter and you undoubtedly haven’t gone looking for them, does not mean they don’t exist.

Neil Hallsworth
Neil Hallsworth
8 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

I take it you don’t drive or have other reason for your support such as work in WG
unbelievable destruction of the Welsh economy , I am ashamed to live here and wish to leave. I feel that strongly driving around in these convoys of distressed drivers at 18mph being overtaken by bicycles,
stupid just plain and simple.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
8 months ago

Gwynt teg ar eich ôl!

lufcwls
lufcwls
8 months ago

I drive and I don’t work for the WG or even support Welsh Labour but I have no problem with the new rules. You can barely go above 20 in a city any way and in the countryside where I live I have found it quite relaxing to go slower through villages. The only non-relaxing part are people coming up my arse, and that includes buses.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
8 months ago

I drive. I have no connection to Y Senedd. It is just hysteria to claim the 20mph limit on some roads is destroying the Welsh economy. If you wish to leave, leave. That is your right. But be careful that you don’t move to one of the English regions that also has 20mph limits or you will have just as many strong feelings and shame living there.

adopted cardi
adopted cardi
8 months ago

bugger off then

Alun Gerrard
Alun Gerrard
8 months ago

I agree…thus decision cost at least 500 jobs in South Wales as Grenadier who produce a land rover type, er land rover went to a factory in France as the WG would not improve road access from the factory they were going to build.

Neil Hallsworth
Neil Hallsworth
8 months ago
Reply to  Sally-Anne

I think 97% of 30mph being reduced IS a blanket change

Simondc1711
Simondc1711
8 months ago
Reply to  Sally-Anne

It was so rigorous that it did not take into account the full extent of it’s consequences. The flawed evidence has already come to light with the report by Spain of an increase in fatalities over the previous speed limit, 2019 at 118, 2021 – 2022 126 fatalities. The evidence of welsh bus company’s now having to discontinue established daily route due to punctuality issues. Delivery drivers failing to deliver goods as it would incur overtime payment which their company’s would incur.
‘The truth will out!

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
8 months ago
Reply to  Simondc1711

What utter rubbish, Bus companies are reducing services due to lack of finance and shortage of drivers and not because of some minor reduction in the default speed limit that probably doesn’t even affect the majority of bus routes in Wales, and those it does affect are unlikely to be any more delayed than they were by traffic congestion. The ludicrous claims being made by some of the detractors of the new default speed limit in built up areas stretch credibility to the extreme. Ditto with delivery drivers, the vast majority of whom are paid on a per package rate… Read more »

Dai
Dai
8 months ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

You could not be more wrong. My wife works for a care agency. Now they cannot get round to the same amount of patients in a day. They are having to choose whether to reduce the time they spend with each person or miss one vulnerable patient out.

Alun Gerrard
Alun Gerrard
8 months ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

Not on Anglesey. Since the 20 mph there have been cuts and cancellations on the bus services. But we are too far from Cardiff to count. What is a detractor? A French tractor or me? Is Padi on the WG payroll?

lufcwls
lufcwls
8 months ago
Reply to  Simondc1711

Over the last 2 weeks I have seen many buses up here in the north doing more than 20mph, it’s a load of rubbish and an excuse for them to take advantage of this situation to cut routes that they want to cut anyway.

Tim Saunders
Tim Saunders
8 months ago
Reply to  Sally-Anne

Eitha gwir. Polisi er achub bywydau ac amddiffyn yr amgylchedd, wedi’i saernïo yn hyblyg fel bod modd ei addasu i amgylchiadau lleol.

Gwaetha’r modd, y mae yn ein plith rai a grêd fod ganddynt hawl i anafu a lladd.

TomTom82
TomTom82
8 months ago
Reply to  Sally-Anne

Everywhere I drive(and I drive a lot in my line of work) I see 20mph signs. In city centres to the most unknown hamlets. I have yet to see anywhere that has retained the 30mph limit. The new speed limit is mandatory Everywhere the limit used to be 30mph. If that isn’t a blanket action, what I’n your gifted opinion is?

Dafydd
Dafydd
8 months ago
Reply to  TomTom82

There are certainly still a good number of 30 mph limits here with us, with 20’s predominately in village high streets and the like – where residents now have a better quality of life. Why are so many people these days only focused on themselves? Lets be honest that’s where this comes from. You can quote delivery times this, bus times that … but fundamently its all down to the inconvenience factor on me, me, me! Think about the effect your speed – additional noise, pollution and danger you pose to all those you drive past … just to get… Read more »

Peter Williams
Peter Williams
8 months ago
Reply to  Dafydd

…..but I will be driving through your village high street making more noise and putting out more pollution for a longer time as my engine is spinning faster in a lower gear at 18mph. I’ve tried it, it’s a simple fact.

lufcwls
lufcwls
8 months ago
Reply to  TomTom82

I drove from Wrecsam to Nottingham last weekend and saw many 20mph zones on that trip… IN ENGLAND! But it’s just Wales that has gone mad isn’t it.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
8 months ago
Reply to  TomTom82

Where do you live and drive? Near me, it’s just estates, schools and hospitals where 20 is applied. Very few roads in the countryside at 30. Mostly 50. Only 20 on winding roads through hamlets.
Sometimes I think the antis are just making stuff up!

Dai
Dai
8 months ago
Reply to  Sally-Anne

This stupid policy means there is an increase of emissions. The stupid man is both for and against fuel emissions! That says is all. Shame he didn’t accidently vote against his own stupid policy like he did 3 times before.

Simon
Simon
8 months ago
Reply to  Dai

I don’t see that it’s ridiculous – it has the potential (demonstrated by experience in Spain and elsewhere) to save many lives/injuries, and thus save lots of money. My experience so far is that my journey times in Newtown are not increased at all significantly. Observance seems good, and I can imagine it will become a non-issue quite quickly.

Jeff
Jeff
8 months ago

Time to start enforcing it. Or drop it. Seems people are starting to get non observant. If they are going to persevere then the time for a few warnings and fines to drop is now.

Blinedig
Blinedig
8 months ago
Reply to  Jeff

Interesting to compare the reg plates of those complying and those not. Particularly during the half term break for English schools (hence visitors)! For many where I live, compliance seems a matter of national pride. Da iawn chi.

Jeff
Jeff
8 months ago
Reply to  Blinedig

Comparing plates? Mine is local runs through the 20. Initially high observance, still appearing to be a high observance but a few starting to get tail gatey. Overtaken a few times now (one ran a red) but I expect they would be doing that in a 30 (I also get that). Probably more to do with lack of policing and no fear o getting caught.

Ap Kenneth
8 months ago

The really idiotic and stupid thing is that in the UK 50% of drivers exceed the 30mph limit – https://roadsafetygb.org.uk/news/50-of-drivers-exceed-speed-limit-on-30mph-roads/

Patrick Thomas
Patrick Thomas
8 months ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

Your point is…?

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
8 months ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

I agree that those 50% of drivers who exceed the 30mph limits are idiotic and stupid. But you can’t educate gammon

Frank
Frank
8 months ago

How this guy got into the Senedd is a complete mystery. He opens his gob and a pile of 💩 falls out.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
8 months ago
Reply to  Frank

You could always stand for the Senedd yourself, I’m sure you’d be more than adequate competition!

Frank
Frank
8 months ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

By the tone of your reply you are obviously a Lee Waters supporter so tell me Padi what you think this man has achieved during his term of office.

Annibendod
Annibendod
8 months ago

Most drivers never did observe it. I predicted exactly that. Also, it doesnt sound like Lee Waters is reflective at all. More should have been done to identify arterial routes – instead we have some silly situations where a bunch of different speed limits apply in the space of 100m or so. It is right that residential areas should be 20mph – but simply reducing all 30mph restrictions was not a good idea. Leadership was needed to put sensible speed limits in place on key routes. Looks like that will only happen long after the horse bolted. I know of… Read more »

Paul
Paul
8 months ago
Reply to  Annibendod

Spot on

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
8 months ago
Reply to  Annibendod

Change programmes are rarely perfect first time, especially on a scheme of this size.
An iterative cycle of Observe > Plan > Implement > Review > Revise> Plan > Implement (or some variation of this) is normally applied. This project is currently in the Review phase, but is getting drowned out by melodramatic angry man-children. This will be a non-issue in 6 months, except in Tory run areas where they will deliberately make the routes inconvenient in order to keep the angry folks angry at the Senedd

Tim Saunders
Tim Saunders
8 months ago
Reply to  Sarah Good

Gwir bob gair. Cofiaf yr union un ffromi plentynnaidd adeg cyflwyno’r anadliadur, y cyfyngiad 70 mya, gwregysau diogelwch, ayyb. Ac i wneud yr holl ffwdan yn fwy o smonach, roedd rhai o’r giwed uchaf eu cloch – Andrew Rhadamanthus Thoth Davies AS yn eu plith – yn gefnogol i’r cyfyngiad newydd yn eitha diweddar.

lufcwls
lufcwls
8 months ago
Reply to  Tim Saunders

a’r gwaharddiad ysmygu. a’r y tal am fagiau plastig

Last edited 8 months ago by lufcwls
Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
8 months ago
Reply to  Annibendod

Local authorities were empowered to make the necessary changes and could choose to keep arterial routes at 30mph, as has been the case in Cardiff and other areas where the local councils have been made up of members with a modicum of grey matter between their ears. It’s not rocket science and in any case, most of the opposition is from selfish car drivers with an over-entitled sense of privilege.

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
8 months ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

Good point. Just last week I went to Cardiff. From the interchange to parking near city hall, I experienced no limits below 30mph. The same when I got back to my home town. No 20mph at all until I got back onto the estate. It barely has any impact on my life. I suspect it’s the same for most people if they were being honest. It does make me laugh though how so many speeding drivers are suddenly so concerned about the welfare of bus companies, given the contempt they show buses on the road by their dangerous driving

Peter Williams
Peter Williams
8 months ago
Reply to  Annibendod

Totally agree, I have not heard anyone disagree with a considered implementation of a 20 limit in appropriate places àt appropriate times. Is it really necessary on an arterial route outside a school at 3am during the summer holidays? This is the case at our local school.

Peter
Peter
8 months ago

Lee Walters, you will have plenty of time to reflect after you lose your seat at the next election.

Neil
Neil
8 months ago

As Climate Change Minister, is he not concerned about the possibility of increasing emissions by having vehicles stuck in second gear and idling whilst stationary?

I await the latest accident statistics with genuine interest.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
8 months ago
Reply to  Neil

We have a fleet of Toyota hybrid vehicles in our ambulance service, the vehicles don’t charge at these low speeds, they charge after 24mph, we had the RAC out a few times in the last couple of weeks due to discharged battery, I’m surprised Toyota have not taken up a court procedure for this silly speed limit, even 25 mph would have been OK

Alun Gerrard
Alun Gerrard
8 months ago

Lee Waters wears many different hats…more than one sometimes. Many hats will not share his head as there is a conflict of interest on many decisions.

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
8 months ago

The problems, if there are any, is due to the use of old internal combustion engines in low gear producing greater noise.
Thankfully, those old petrol and diesel combustion engines won’t be around for much longer.
Would anybody think of using a steam vehicle on our roads ?
Petrol and diesel produce similar amounts of pollution exhaust as steam but is less visible.

Electric vehicles are our future.

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