Pilot area for reduced speed limit to revert to 30mph
Twm Owen, local democracy reporter
A 30 mile per hour speed limit is set to be restored in an area that piloted Wales’ new lower limit by the end of this month.
A decision to scrap the 20mph speed limit along a stretch of road known as the Caldicot Bypass was confirmed in November last year.
Now Monmouthshire County Council has confirmed the decision to revert to a 30mph limit on part of the B4245 and part of Caldicot Road in Caldicot will be implemented by the end of this month. It has also confirmed a further road where a 30mph limit will remain once Wales switches to the new lower speed limit in September.
From September 17 the limit in built up areas – or restricted roads where there is typically regular street lighting – will be 20mph. That will mean in such areas drivers will have to assume the lower limit applies unless signage indicates otherwise.
Councils are however able to make exceptions where, having taken local factors into account, they can retain the 30mph limit as they did when they confirmed they would scrap the 20mph limit in parts of Caldicot. There will be a part time 20mph section by Durand Primary School at the start and end of the schoool day.
When the 30mph limit is restored by the end of this month it will be just shy of a year since the lower limit was introduced as Caldicot, and others in the Severnside area, were put forward as one of eight across Wales to pilot the 20mph limit which the Senedd agreed last July should become the default speed limit from this September.
Ahead of the change Monmouthshire council has also confirmed the A48, where it runs through Caerwent, will keep the 30mph limit.
The decision has been backed by the village’s county councillor Phil Murphy who said as a dual carriageway, with a dividing strip between traffic, it would be unsuited to the lower limit.
He said: “20mph along there would be absolutely dreadful. Thirty is sensible. There is a nursery and two pedestrian crossings. There are lots of reasons why you would want traffic to go slowly there but 20mph is ridiculous along the A48.”
A report prepared for councillors representing the Severnside area said reasons the A48 will be exempt are that it is a strategic A class route with an existing 30 mph speed limit; there are a limited number of homes fronting the A48 with the criteria being more than 20 properties per km and there is more than 100 metres between the junctions of 20mph side roads.
There are also no educational establishment entrances within a 100m walk of the road.
Side roads in Caerwent, including the Roman Road that runs through the village and parallel to the A48, are already subject to the 20mph limit having been part of the pilot.
In December Cllr Murphy said greater enforcement of the 20mph limit in the village was needed.
He said he also asked the council’s traffic officers to consider the varying speed limits between Caerwent and Caldicot. He said after leaving the 20mph zone in Caerwent there are some eight houses on the stretch of the road that is subject to the 60mph national speed limit and there are then restrictions limiting speed to 40mph and 20mph in Caldicot.
“It strikes me as daft there are houses in the section where there is no restriction on speed, I have asked them to review it,” said the Conservative councillor.
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How can a 20mph road revert to 30mph on Wales? We’ve been told by Andrew RT Davies and the Welsh Tories that the 20mph limit is a blanket rollout in Wales? Or is their constant refrain not in fact true?
Evidently, the Utopian idealists in the Senedd prefer sweeping blanket restrictions to proper consultation and planning. Of course, this only results in muddle as local authorities try piecemeal to make pragmatic sense of the Senedd’s typically immature radicalism. We need planning in Wales, but all we get is ideological posturing. At taxpayer expense, moreover. Heaven help us.