Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Protesters picket 20mph roads

02 Feb 2024 7 minute read
Conwy protest

Richard Evans Local Democracy Reporter

Despite torrential rain, protesters turned out in their droves at a Welsh council HQ to campaign against some 20mph roads in the county.

A public consultation could now garner opinion on which Conwy 20-mph roads should be returned to 30 mph, following a meeting this week where police officers attended to keep the peace.

Whilst the Welsh Government reduced the default speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph in September, some roads can be made exempt if they meet the right criteria.

Public consultation

At Conwy’s economy and place overview and scrutiny committee, Llandudno Conservative councillor Louise Emery tabled a residents’ petition, calling on Conwy to use its powers to consult the public over which roads should be exempt from the 20-mph speed limit

The committee recommended that the cabinet consider a public consultation to decide which roads in the county – not exempt under Welsh Government legislation  – can be put back to 30 mph.

But any future public consultation won’t happen until Welsh Government issue new guidance to local authorities later this month on which roads should be exempt.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Harry Saville accused Conwy of not following Welsh Government guidance and carrying out a public consultation before the new speed limit came into being.

“This council didn’t come forward with any exemptions and consult. They were told this is what was happening. This is what will go ahead, “ he said.

“I think it is concerning to hear people (some councillors) trying to suggest there was a public consultation and members could have said more when certainly, as far as I was told, these changes would be coming into force, and that was the end of the discussion. No room for public consultation.”

Cllr Gail Jones agreed that the 20-mph speed limit had been imposed. Cllr Jones said the criteria for exemptions was not made easily available to councillors or the public.

Review

Cllr Simon Croft argued speed limits needed reviewing again across the whole county.

“I think we need to look at speed limits in context of the whole area,” he said.

“Particularly, as a cyclist and a motorist, I’ve got concerns about some of our existing speed limits outside of the 20-mph. We’ve got a recommended cycling route along a two-metre-wide road from Pabo Lane from (Llandudno) Junction to Mochdre where the speed limit is 60 mph.”

Cllr Croft then added cyclists took their life into their own hands.

Cllr Gareth Jones said any public consultation needed to be simple for people to engage.

The committee voted in favour of the petition for Cllr Louise Emery to work with the cabinet member for roads Cllr Goronwy Edwards, looking at the cost and effectiveness of a future public consultation.

Councillors were reminded that any consultation would only be on which roads could be ruled as exempt and not the 20-mph speed limit in general.

But the matter won’t return to cabinet for debate until the Welsh Government issue new advice to local authorities.

Perhaps referring to the crowds wielding picket signs and the police presence, chairman Cllr Mike Priestley thanked the public in the gallery for their good behaviour and joked he expected to have tomatoes thrown at him.

The committee voted in favour of the proposal with three councillor abstentions.

Police presence

Resident Phil Ashe was in attendance at Bodlondeb and questioned why the police were there.

“The police being there was very odd,” he said.

“The public were very good. They came. They listened. They weren’t hostile. There wasn’t even a raised voice. It was ridiculous, a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.”

A Conwy County Council spokeswoman said the council didn’t ask the police to attend.

A spokesman for North Wales Police said, “We were made aware of a planned peaceful protest outside Bodlondeb at 4.45pm yesterday (Wednesday), about the 20 mph limits. A local officer attended and there were no issues.”

Speaking later Cllr Louise Emery, who tabled the residents’ petition, slammed Conwy for a lack of public consultation over exempt roads before the speed limit was introduced in September.

“I’m really pleased that elected members have listened to their residents and realised that this badly implemented policy by Welsh Government has been made even worse by the lack of engagement by Conwy Council,” she said.

“Conwy had guidance from Welsh Government to engage with the public before it came in last September, and they chose to ignore that guidance, and I think that’s what has made Conwy residents even more angry than other parts of North Wales.”

Cllr Emery also claimed that Welsh Government criteria was complex and difficult to obtain, in terms of defining which roads could be exempt from the 20-mph default speed limit.

“The criteria that Welsh Government define roads that can’t be changed, that have to be 20 mph, is really hard to find. It is hard to get that information.” she said.

“If it is near a school, it has to be a 20-mph road. From the Marine Road roundabout in Old Colwyn down to the prom, where you can get on and off the A55, and along the prom to the pier, I think that would be outside the exemptions. It is not what I think. It is what the exemptions allow. Based on my interpretations of the criteria – I’m not the expert – but from my interpretations, that bit of road could be made 30 mph, for example, and that was our point.

“Painful”

“In my ward, the majority of roads can’t be exempted, and to be honest when I’m in Llandudno town centre, you wouldn’t drive more than 20-25 mph anyway, but there are a lot of link roads, linking communities, where it is painful at 20 mph, and there is no need for it.

“In terms of road deaths, you have to look very carefully at the statistics where people die on roads, and it is not generally on 30-mph roads. If it is, often the driver is doing 40 or 50 mph. Most accidents happen on ‘A’ roads.”

“We were there last night to say we can’t change Welsh Government policy. That is not our duty in this chamber, but we can look at every road that can be exempted and put them back up to 30 mph, and there are plenty of them, and we can ask the public.

“The people who were there last night, who had come out on such a horrible night, were there because they wanted to be listened to. It is probably the most unpopular Welsh Government policy I’ve known in all my years of being under a Welsh Labour Government. They feel the 20-mph limit is restricting and having an effect on their daily lives. It is affecting people’s lives, like the bus service being cut in Penrhynside. It is slowing down delivery vans, slowing down carers going to see vulnerable residents. I heard from a pharmacy who were told by a company they are not going to do any more Welsh runs because they need to get around at a certain speed. It certainly adds more than a minute to your journey.”

Cllr Emery said she will now work with cabinet member for roads Cllr Goronwy Edwards on readying proposals to be put before cabinet, explaining any public consultation could be a simple interactive map so residents could easily engage.


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.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
29 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
The Original Mark
The Original Mark
24 days ago

You can tell it’s an election year, The tories are attacking anything Labour while completely ignoring the destruction the tories are responsible for across the whole of the UK.

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
24 days ago

A’u placadiau i gyd yn Saesneg. Naw wfft iddynt.

Marc
Marc
24 days ago

‘ turned out in their droves ’ 😂

Jeff
Jeff
24 days ago
Reply to  Marc

The other 450k where behind the camera person.

Tina Lee
Tina Lee
22 days ago
Reply to  Marc

It was raining and many had gone inside. I’d you’d turned up in that weather you’d of gone inside

Sioned Huws
Sioned Huws
24 days ago

Does ‘na ddim pethau pwysicach i’w gwrthsefyll yn yr oes hon o erchyllterau?
Aren’t there more important things to protest about in this age of genocide?

Emma Catherwood
Emma Catherwood
22 days ago
Reply to  Sioned Huws

The situation post Oct 7 in the Middle East has nothing to do with the 20mph limit in Wales.

A Scarecrow
A Scarecrow
24 days ago

Less than 20 people, by the looks of it. I’m surprised Andy Blanket wasn’t there, but if it was raining then he probably found something to do indoors.

Bob
Bob
24 days ago

They’re probably all Brexiteers, can’t see further than their nose – no concept of the wider world.

Last edited 24 days ago by Bob
Blinedig
Blinedig
23 days ago
Reply to  Bob

Interesting observation. A certain personality trait in common perhaps, but I don’t need to elaborate.

Rhddwen y Sais
Rhddwen y Sais
24 days ago

Westminster’s fault

Gareth
Gareth
22 days ago
Reply to  Rhddwen y Sais

Could not agree more with you.

Gareth
Gareth
24 days ago

Is this reporter taking the Mickey out of NC. Torrential rain? People are stood there looking bone dry, some not even wearing hats with dry hair. If 15 people can be described as ” in their droves” goodness knows what the reporter would use to describe the crowd at the rugby on Saturday lol. Somebody have a word, please.

Tina Lee
Tina Lee
22 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

It was lashing down and very windy, lots had gone inside for cover.

Gareth
Gareth
22 days ago
Reply to  Tina Lee

If so, why are these people dry?

Mandy
Mandy
20 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

We weren’t dry! I was there and we managed to stand under the awning at the front of the council building. It was bucketing down and blowing a hoolie.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
24 days ago

In ‘their droves’ eh? The population of Conwy County is just a tad under 115,000. there are, as far as I can see, just 15 people in that crowd*, all holding placards in English only. Even Saxon laws that determined 36 people as constituting an army would find it very hard to describe this gathering as droves! Maybe NC needs to adapt the style sheet a little so that words like droves are only used when there are several thousand or more people? *15 people hardly makes it a crowd, but I couldn’t think of any other word that wasn’t… Read more »

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
24 days ago

You’d swear they were holding up a score of their combined IQ bless their little M&S cotton socks. But where were those same protesters when Wales were robbed of billions of HS2 consequential after this Tory government cynically made HS2 an England & Wales infrastructure build. Answer? Absolutely nowhere! And looking at their smug smiling faces in this photo imply that they care more about travelling 10 mph faster to their Conservative associations than they do stopping the would-be deaths of our children if hit by a car on our roads travelling at 30 mph, or I might add, they… Read more »

Richard E
Richard E
23 days ago

This is mostly the local Tory party hiding behind briefed individuals who speak for themselves not the general public. Of course more roads need to be 30 mph but an artificial storm manufactured for election purposes 🗳️.

Tim Peterson
Tim Peterson
23 days ago

As I perhaps misunderstood, this was how the legislation was designed to work. It would have cost a fortune in time and money to consult every residential street in Wales. The idea was to make a nationwide change which could then be open to reversal in individual council areas. Unfortunately, for some, it has become a prime example of a central authority dictating to the regions that subsequently suffer the fall-out. The most dangerous piece of legislation is currently being debated. It will turn a representative democracy, where local candidates represent local interests into a party list selection that brushes… Read more »

Pobun
Pobun
23 days ago

Ridiculous, let it go. The acceptance of the policy is not helped by the fact that Alun Cairns MP has waded in with the ‘blanket’ term that Andrew RT Davies has denied using mendaciously, on his Facebook page.
Just remember that a 20mph zone only adds 1 minute for every mile it replaces a 30mph. If your 3mile journey is 20mph all the way then it will only add a maximum of 3 minutes. If it adds more than 3 minutes then it’s the volume of traffic not the speed limit.

John doh
John doh
23 days ago

What an utter waste of air. Bet they all drive bmws/mercs.

Francoise
Francoise
23 days ago

Don’t know wot the problem is !..driving at 20mph is better than walking,people have become to dependant on their cars!.. when ur in areas where it isn’t 20mph normal limits apply? try walking again the itle register

Francoise
Francoise
23 days ago

People want to moan about everything ,driving at 20mph is better than walking?.. try walking up Mount pleasant hill in swansea 2 miles long 70 degrees

Karla
Karla
23 days ago

As someone who doesn’t drive and has to walk my autistic child over a mile down 30 and 40 mph roads to catch a bus, its terrifying. All these selfish people sitting comfy in their car, thinking their extra minute or two on a journey is more important than peoples safety who are pedestrians disgust me.

Last edited 23 days ago by Karla
TomTom82
TomTom82
22 days ago
Reply to  Karla

Learn to drive. Failing that, stick to the pavement.

Twffr
Twffr
22 days ago
Reply to  TomTom82

You have a poor understanding of the Highway Code. But, of course, perfect drivers like you have no need know any of it!

Why vote
Why vote
23 days ago

At least the welsh government has already saved £ 20 million to pay the doctors and nurses.

Emma Catherwood
Emma Catherwood
22 days ago

Public consultation is the way forward. Reassuring to note it will be taking place in this part of Wales and if it is what the local electorate want, the reintroduction of the 30mph limit on certain roads will be the result. Can’t see what the problem is with that.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.