Local authority rejects calls to overrule 20mph speed limit
Elgan Hearn, local democracy reporter
Calls to overrule the Welsh Government’s new default 20mph speed limit have been rejected by a local authority.
Powys Conservative councillor Iain McIntosh asked for an urgent review of the implementation of the controversial speed limit which was introduced on 17 September.
He also asked for Powys councillors to be allowed a vote on whether the speed limit should “continue” to be implemented in Powys.
Cllr McIntosh said: “It is imperative that as elected representatives we should be able to measure public opinion and, at times of public outrage over such a decision, and have the opportunity to vote about the future implementation of the 20mph speed limit accordingly.”
Responding the Mr McIntosh, Liberal Democrat portfolio holder for highways, transport and recycling, Cllr Jackie Charlton said: “Local authorities do not have the power to alter this national limit and therefore are unable to rescind the made order.
“Welsh Government did accept that this lowered national limit may not be appropriate in all settings on the existing restricted roads, and published exception guidance for local authorities to apply.
“This guidance was issued to ensure there was a consistent approach across the whole of Wales when deciding which sections of restricted roads should be exempted.
“Powys County Council, as well as the Welsh Government who are the highway authority for the trunk roads in Powys, have been consistent in applying the criteria for exceptions in line with the published guidance.
“As the highway authority for the county roads, the council will continue to monitor and review speed limits, using Welsh Government published guidance as appropriate.”
A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: “Our exceptions guidance states highway authorities continue to have flexibility to set local speed limits, which are right for individual roads, reflecting local circumstances.
“The guidance also states that where a decision deviates from the exceptions guidance, highway authorities should have a clear and reasoned case for doing so.”
Earlier this year the government asked each highway authority to consider if and where exceptions should be made and for these traffic orders to also be made on September 17 in conjunction with the default 20mph order.
A consultation took place from June 30 to July 21 which asked for Powys residents views on roads that will be the “exception” to the 20mph traffic orders.
Nearly 250 stretches of road in the county were included in the consultation.
In total 28 objections were made which allowed the council to tweak the speed limits for several roads.
The introduction of the new speed limit has sparked a huge backlash in Wales and beyond.
Signs have been vandalised in some parts of Wales, and almost 200 people marched in protest at the speed limit in Cardiff on Saturday. Over 444,000 people have also signed a Senedd petition calling for the 20mph limit to be revoked.
On Wednesday evening in the Senedd, Lee Waters, the minister in charge of introducing the speed limit, survived a vote of no confidence tabled by the Welsh Conservatives.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.