Support our Nation today - please donate here
News

Shadow transport minister makes plea to scrap ‘ludicrous’ 20mph plan

29 Jun 2023 6 minute read
Natasha Asghar MS during the 20mph petition debate in the Senedd yesterday

Emily Price

The Shadow Minister for Transport and Technology has made what she called an “eleventh-hour plea” to the Welsh Government to scrap the “ludicrous” 20mph speed limit set to come into force this year.

Speaking during a debate in the Senedd on Wednesday (28 June) Natasha Asghar quoted figures she had obtained from the Police Recorded Road Collisions Interactive Dashboard which she said showed road collisions had reduced on 30mph roads, and increased on 20mph roads.

The shadow transport minister said the new limit – which will see most 30mph streets in Wales switch to 20mph – would be “hugely damaging”.

Ms Asghar said: “Between 2017 and 2022, collisions on 30mph roads fell by 33 percent, with 2,528 in 2017 and 1,691 in 2022. Yet, in the same period, incidents on 20mph roads increased by a whopping 174 percent.”

The figures show that in 2017 there were 70 accidents recorded on roads with a 20mph speed limit and in 2022, there were 192 recorded on roads with the same limit.

A Welsh Government spokesperson disputed the figures quoted by Ms Asghar, stating that because the numbers of accidents are so low on 20mph roads it means they are more liable to an increase – particularly when expressed as a percentage.

The spokesperson told Nation.Cymru the figures Ms Asghar presented only demonstrated that there are far more accidents on 30mph roads in comparison to 20mph roads and as there are more 20mph roads in Wales now than there were in 2017, figures couldn’t be compared as like for like.

A Senedd petition to stop the 20mph speed limit coming into force was submitted by Benjamin James Watkins and was signed by more than 20,000 people.

The petition was closed early at the request of the chair of the Senedd Petitions Committee, Jack Sergeant so that there was time to debate it before the change.

The petitioner warned that the speed limit change would result in road rage and he questioned whether it was a way to raise money by fining people going over the new limit.

Mr Watkins also argued that the new speed limit would affect the commute times of people travelling by road for work.

Altogether, twenty-three petitions have been created with ’20 mph’ in the title during this Senedd term, 17 of which received the three names they needed to progress to collecting signatures.

Safer

The shadow minster for transport said that although she understood the need for “targeted action” outside schools, play areas and high streets, she did not agree that a 20mph limit covering all streets was the way forward.

Speaking during the debate, Ms Asghar said: “There is a series of reasons, and I totally accept what’s been said, why people are against these plans, but the main two are the costs involved and the fact that many see this as nothing more than a money-making exercise.

“The costs involved, let me tell you all now, in this ridiculous scheme, are colossal, with £32.5 million being spent on just implementing it. And according to the Welsh Government’s own figures, it will have a dis-benefit of £6.4 billion due to the impact of journey times on businesses and households.

“Earlier today I asked the health Minister about funding for vital services. I totally accepted her answer, but, Presiding Officer, please tell me, for a Government that claims to be cash strapped, wasting this amount of money on yet another vanity project, while the people of Wales are facing cost-of-living pressures, will be a very bitter pill to swallow.”

The Climate Change Minister, Lee Waters has said that reducing the speed limit in Wales will not only save lives but will help build stronger, safer communities.

Concerns

The new limit will come into force on Sunday September 17 after four years of work with local authorities, police and road safety experts to design a change in law – Wales will be the first UK nation to reset the default speed limit for local roads.

South Wales East MS, Natasha Asghar said that as well as her own constituents, residents from “all corners of Wales” had made contact with her to vent their concerns about the change.

She said: “The blanket 20 mph speed limit plan is something that my constituents regularly contact me about. And as shadow Minister for transport, from all corners of Wales I have received e-mails, phone calls, you name it, from all constituents, from all your various constituencies here.

“And I want to share something with you from one constituent from south-east Wales who recently told me, as I feel it pretty much sums up the general mood that’s across Wales, she said, and I quote, ‘This is just another way of raising costs for Welsh people who are trying to get by.

“I would prefer the Welsh Government to concentrate on sorting out the more pressing, urgent and important issues they are struggling with, such as health, education, rather than introducing half-thought-out schemes such as this.

“Or is it that they are trying to do something different from everybody else as though it’s a good thing? I’m not impressed.'”

Evidence

The move by the Welsh Government follows a similar approach in Spain where the speed limit on the majority of roads was changed to 30km/h in 2019.

Since then, Spain has reported 20% fewer urban road deaths, with fatalities reduced by 34 per cent for cyclists and 24 per cent for pedestrians.

Evidence has shown that pedestrians are five times more likely to be killed if they are hit by a vehicle driven at 30mph compared to 20mph.

Over the first decade, it is estimated that the lower speed limit will save up to 100 lives and 20,000 casualties.

Dr Sarah Jones, Consultant in Environmental Public Health for Public Health Wales, said: “Public Health Wales strongly supports 20mph legislation, which will transform the places where people live, work and travel.

“The evidence is clear that reducing traffic speeds has multiple health and wellbeing benefits.  It improves road safety, reduces noise pollution and over time will help to tackle air pollution. The safer environment that slower traffic speeds bring will also enable more people to actively travel, for example walking and cycling to work and school.

“Active travel offers such a wide range of benefits across society, boosting physical and mental health, and reducing the demand on our health service of treating many preventable illnesses.”


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
19 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
9 months ago

She wanted to be the Mayor of London.
Is she aware that there are many 20mph zones already operating there?

Pete Cuthbert
Pete Cuthbert
9 months ago

The Petrol Heads seem to hate the idea that the age of the motor car for every journey however small is coming to an end. What Ms Asghar seems to be unaware of is the history of how the country came to be over-run by the motor vehicle. If it had been left to ‘the market’ it would never have happened. It was governement selling off military vehicles at a fraction of their cost after the first world was that got the road haulage industry going. But for that railways would have continued being the major carrier for a great… Read more »

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
9 months ago
Reply to  Pete Cuthbert

Lorries would have ultimately taken over anyway, army surplus trucks after WW1 just sped the process up somewhat. Transport policy of both major parties was to transfer to road transport, and roads received massive investments, as opposed to subsidies for the railways, semantics very much being the name of the game. Beeching was commissioned by a Tory government, but much of the implementation was under Labour governments. For rural areas I don’t think the car can be dispensed with as public transport, no matter how good, will ever satisfy the mobility needs of individuals as there simply aren’t the numbers… Read more »

James
James
9 months ago

Worried about an increase in Road Rage. Surely that’s the individuals fault not the government

Karl
Karl
9 months ago

Let’s find out where she lives and if there are dangerous speeders on slow speed roads and high NO2 levels there. Locally calls for my road 20mph to go, by people who live further off the main road who don’t want it gone from their roads. Yet lucky if they go as slow as 30mph still.

Blinedig
Blinedig
9 months ago
Reply to  Karl

On two roads I know, at opposite ends of the nation, many drive at 50+ in 30mph zones. If the 20 limit even brings them down to a default 30 it would be an improvement.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
9 months ago
Reply to  Blinedig

I live on a street that has a 20mph limit. It used to have a 30mph limit, and has speed humps, that when they were first installed about 20 years ago did slow traffic down – for all of a day, after which drivers learned to line their wheels up with the humps! I can’t say I’ve noticed any slow-down in traffic speeds, it’s still common to see cars moving at around 40mph.

WilliamsG
WilliamsG
9 months ago

The lifetime of your car engine is determined by the number of revolutions it does. If you spend a lot of time on a motorway in 6th gear you may get 200kmiles out of your engine. Driving around town mostly in 4th gear you may get 130kmiles out of your engine. Logically if you spend a lot of your time driving around in 2nd gear you would expect to get less than 100k miles out of your engine. I hope we are all prepared for that when we buy new or used cars. Expect to be buying a lot more… Read more »

Marc
Marc
9 months ago
Reply to  WilliamsG

And the life time of a pedestrian is considerably longer if they are hit by a car at 20 mph compared to 30

Marc
Marc
9 months ago

Talking about” ludicrous” plans!

Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
9 months ago

What I’ve noticed over the last few years is that there are so many cars on the roads (parked and otherwise) now that in my neighbourhood I barely get past 20mph these days anyway! And I believe most of the 20mph limit will be in these sort of suburb areas. However, if taking our foot off the pedal saves a live – then I’m all for it. Just give your journey more time.

Lolly Mountjoy
Lolly Mountjoy
9 months ago

Has she know realised she is a member of the Senedd and is talking and doing something relevant recently she wanted to be the mayor of London and visited Heathrow airport neither of which are in Wales let alone Newport

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
9 months ago
Reply to  Lolly Mountjoy

London, which already has 20mph zones.
I recently drove some of them in the Twickenham, Brentford, Hanwell and Ealing areas.
I thought they worked rather well and I was not delayed in the slightest.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
9 months ago

I was banging on about the tyranny of the cyclist, I should have listed the hierarchy from the top…the car driver…the cyclist…the pedestrian…the strongest at the top to the most vulnerable at the bottom…just like society…arse about…

Peter
Peter
9 months ago

What she has to understand is the a few dozen Senedd members are right and 90% of the Welsh population are wrong.
And that is Welsh democracy in action.

Iago
Iago
9 months ago

What a hilarious self own. Her own figures show 20mph is almost 10 times safer than 30mph. Another Tory that doesn’t know how numbers work, shocker.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
9 months ago

I always wonder at the stupidity of those who claim speed limits cost motorists more… The only way that could possibly be the case is if they receive a speeding fine, which is actually quite easy to avoid – simply keep to the speed limit and there will be no fine to pay.

I actually wonder if people with such limited powers of deduction should be allowed to be in control of a motor vehicle!

Nobby Tart
Nobby Tart
9 months ago

Here you go Natasha.
You wanted to be the Mayor, just look what they are doing there.

The City of London, Islington and Hackney were on Monday named the best boroughs for “healthy streets” – while Hillingdon, Bexley and Havering were the worst.
Islington has converted all residential roads to 20mph and introduced seven low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) and 35 “school streets”, where through traffic is restricted at the start and end of the school day.

Our Supporters

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