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Senedd to debate 20mph and ‘road building ban’

12 Apr 2024 4 minute read
A vandalised 20mph sign – Image: Local Democracy Reporting Service

Emily Price

A motion calling for the Welsh Government to reverse the 20mph default speed limit and adopt a “targeted approach” instead will be debated in the Senedd next week.

The motion, brought forward by the Welsh Conservatives will also call for a review of the current strict criteria for new road building in Wales.

Under new Welsh Government rules, road projects must not increase carbon emissions, increase the number of cars on the road, lead to higher speeds and higher emissions, and must not negatively impact the environment.

In February 2023, following a year long review, all major road building projects in Wales were scrapped including the planned third Menai bridge.

The “groundbreaking” policy has been described as “world-leading and brave” by environmental campaigners.

The motion calls for a review of the road building tests with a view to implementing all previously scrapped schemes.

In the Senedd on Wednesday (April 17), Tory MSs will also propose that the government invest in better public transport to make buses and trains “more competitive with travelling by car”.

‘War on Motorists’ 

Welsh Conservative Shadow Transport Minister, Natasha Asghar MS, said: “Labour Ministers in Cardiff Bay continue to push their anti-motorist agenda, with drivers being forced out of their vehicles through Labour Government policy.

“The people of Wales want to get on with their daily lives, yet Labour’s lack of investment in public transport, road building ban, and 20mph speed limits are preventing them from doing exactly this.

“In the Senedd next week, we’ll be calling on the Welsh Labour Government to end their war on motorists, scrap their road building ban and 20mph speed limits, and to get Wales moving again.”

Wales’ controversial 20mph default speed limit was rolled out in September last year and saw most roads that were 30mph switch to 20mph.

A record breaking Senedd petition calling for the default to be reversed racked up almost half a million signatures.

The Welsh Government has said that cutting the limit to 20mph will protect lives and save the NHS in Wales £92m a year.

The Welsh Conservatives say the Welsh Government’s transport policies are “not fit for purpose”.

The Tories have brought several motions before the Senedd calling for the road regulation to be reversed but none have been successful.

They also led a no confidence vote in the minister who led the introduction of the 20mph speed limit but it too failed to pass.

The deputy minister in charge of transport, Lee Waters stepped down from the role before the Senedd broke for Easter recess in March.

Cabinet Secretary for North Wales and Transport, Ken Skates will now oversee Wales’ transport.

Motion

The motion which will be debated on Wednesday reads:

To propose that the Senedd:

1. Believes the Welsh Government’s transport policies for Wales are not fit for purpose.

2. Regrets the North and South transport divide in Wales, with £50m allocated to the North Wales Metro, and over £1bn to the South Wales Metro.

3. Calls on the Welsh Government to urgently:

a)  undertake a review of the current road building tests with a view to implementing all previously scrapped schemes that will boost economic growth or enhance road safety;

b) reverse the Restricted Roads (20mph Speed Limit) (Wales) Order 2022 and adopt a targeted approach to 20mph speed limits in Wales; and

c) invest in public transport to make buses and trains more competitive with travelling by car.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “The Cabinet Secretary has been clear that his immediate priority on 20mph is to listen. To support this, in the weeks ahead he will be engaging with elected representatives, businesses and communities across Wales.”


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Geoff Ryan
Geoff Ryan
1 month ago

Anyone would think the Welsh Tories were unaware that cars are one of the major causes of global warming, not to mention other environmental problems and threats to our continued existence on this planet.
We need to massively reduce the amount of journeys made by petrol and diesel cars
However that will only be done by a huge increase in the provision of public transport, ideally by free public transport as exists in a number of European countries, rather than public transport having to compete with private cars.

Sikejsudjek
Sikejsudjek
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoff Ryan

No need if we are going to EVs.

karl
karl
1 month ago
Reply to  Sikejsudjek

and how do you charge EV’s on a Welsh street full of terraced houses, with several cars per house? All for Ev or other solutions, but nobody is giving practical answers, just usual avoid solutions until to late.

A Evans
A Evans
1 month ago
Reply to  Geoff Ryan

And little old Wales will save the planet?

Llyn
Llyn
1 month ago

I note the Conservative motion calls for investment “in public transport to make buses and trains more competitive with travelling by car”. Yet last October Natasha Asghar was calling for tens of millions of pounds to be cut from the the train budget in Wales -https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-politics-67145114

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
1 month ago
Reply to  Llyn

Ms Asghar is a Tory, surely you don’t expect consistency from Tories?

A Evans
A Evans
1 month ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

As opposed to Welsh Labour consistently punishing motorists?

Jeff
Jeff
1 month ago

Natasha Asghar needs to understand that it is her party that is leading the war on motorists. I have a few roads I drive every day that are 20. They are no hinderance to me. That vehicle I have, that doesn’t cost me any extra to drive at 20, now costs me at least 30% more to run than a few years ago. That is massive leaps in car insurance, petrol, tax, maintenance, MOT, Tyres, and servicing costs. My breakdown cover went up a shade under a 3rd this year for one car because they said costs for running the… Read more »

Les Cargot
Les Cargot
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff

Agree with all your comments here. Incidentally I think there’s a valid argument for lower insurance premiums for Welsh motorists given that 20 mph limits were partly designed to reduce accidents and serious injuries. ARTD and his cronies have missed a trick here. Campaigning for lower insurance premiums whilst simultaneously opposing the so called “blanket”20 mph speed limits would be right up their street. Hypocrisy, where would the Tories be without it.

Last edited 1 month ago by Les Cargot
Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

MS Asghar wants more invested in public transport and blames our gov for the lack of it, while her party in London deny us the devolved HS2 money that Scotland and N Ireland have had. They refuse us our share of the cash, then blame another party for the outcomes. Utter claptrap. They campaign against having to drive at 20 mph on certain roads in Cymru, while they implement the same policy in England. Duplicity, hypocrisy, and outright dead cat strategy by a bunch of chancers.

Richard
Richard
1 month ago

All top down policies need review for sure and tweeking if needed after taking in local opinion, research and experience.

The rushed and one size fits all by Labour contrasts with the U Turns, misrepresentstion and out right policy of Jant U Turn Finch Sauders and chums has not served Wales well. This is a community safety issue NOT a Tory election weeze !

Ap Kenneth
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard

It is instructive to see how different highway authorities decided to implement the change to a 20 mph default. The best seem to have been the Trunk road agencies. The worst Wrexham and Denbighshire councils who did the absolute minimum so only one or two exceptions while Cardiff and Swansea and even the Vale have many, There are roads that can be made exceptions and limits physically brought back in, a 20 mph limit does not need to begin a fewhundred yards before the first house eg either end of Pontblyddyn Flintshire, it can be stepped down with 30 mph… Read more »

Richard
Richard
1 month ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

I agree 100 per cent … but it was Flintshire Cc not Denbighshire Cc

Ap Kenneth
1 month ago

One of the Welsh Governments biggest investments in full swing at the moment is the dualling of the A465 Heads of the Valleys Road, probably some £500 million. Should have been done decades ago as it was a very dangerous road. The question is whether investing in more roads or alternative modes of transport which can remove traffic from the roads is a better investment, better from a pollution and health aspect and better from a productivity perspective opening up wider opportunities for more of the workforce. Cars are expensive to run for the majority and decent alternatives will be… Read more »

Richard Thomas
Richard Thomas
1 month ago

The Tories in the UK government keep banging on about a “war on the motorist” as well as the ones in the Welsh government.
I find the notion of a war on the motorist absolutely absurd. We’ve had national policy forcing people to use cars for longer than most of us have been alive.
I don’t find the 20 mph limit an issue at all, it’s the Tories stoking a culture war. It’s all they have.

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