Swansea opposition leader slams new 20mph speed limit as ‘absolute nonsense’
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
A new default 20mph speed limit in Wales is “absolute nonsense” with serious questions marks about how it will be enforced, according to the opposition leader in Swansea.
Cllr Chris Holley was responding to a vote by a majority of Senedd members to approve plans to limit residential roads and busy pedestrian streets to 20mph.
The Swansea Liberal Democrat leader said he felt there had been very little consultation about the plans and that he wanted to hear more details about 20mph pilot schemes that have been running in Wales.
The Welsh Government said the new limit will reduce the risk and severity of injuries as a result of collisions between vehicles and vulnerable road users, encourage more people to cycle and walk, make Wales more attractive for people and bring physical and mental health benefits.
Cllr Holley said he agreed with 20mph zones outside schools, care homes and parks, for example, but not more widely.
“How are you going to enforce it in Landore, in Manselton, in Penlan?” he said. “Are they going to put speed cameras on every corner?”
Under the plans, which will come into force from September 2023, councils will be able to exclude certain roads via an exceptions process.
The Welsh Government said it will be up to road casualty reduction group Go Safe to work with councils to establish implementation time-scales but enforcement will still continue during the transition period.
Climate Change Minister and Swansea West MS Julie James said local residents will get a say in how their street should be.
Cllr Holley said some cars may be more polluting at 20mph than 30mph, and that, in his view, drivers had to put up with roads in “appalling condition” in Wales while helping to fund new cycling and walking schemes through road tax.
“It’s an absolute nonsense,” he said of the 20mph limit. “How are they going to enforce it?”
Cllr Lyndon Jones, leader of Swansea Conservatives, said he felt the 20mph limit was good in certain areas but would cost businesses because of slower delivery times.
Cllr Jones said he believed decisions about which roads to apply the limit to should be left to individual councils, and also reckoned that pollution might actually increase due to vehicles travelling slower.
“It is a bit Big Brother-ish, telling councils what to do,” he said. “I think the Welsh Government should have spoken to councils and asked them which roads they thought it should apply to.”
Dr Sarah Jones, consultant in environmental public health at Public Health Wales said travelling at 20mph had been shown to reduce the risk of crashing and the severity of crashes that still happened.
She said: “It also produces less noise pollution and reduces fuel consumption. It encourages people to walk and cycle, helping to fight obesity and improve mental well-being.”
Rob Stewart, the leader of Swansea Council, said: “20mph limits in local streets will be popular in many areas and help save lives and prevent serious injuries.
“Many roads outside schools and in communities are already 20mph. We are working with the Welsh Government and will continue to do so on appropriate exceptions for other roads.
“We will also need to ensure police and enforcement officers are prepared for the changes coming in 2023.”
The city’s Labour leader added: “It’s important that as we deliver the new limits, consideration is given to bus services, taxi services and key workers journeys, like those taken by social care workers, so they are able to be undertaken in reasonable time to ensure service levels are not impacted.”
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Well, firstly we are going to presume that the people of Cymru will obey the law and that they aren’t petty-minded little divs who need to be watched and prodded every five minutes to get them to understand that this for the benefit of residents and the health of all.
There hasn’t been any road tax since it was abolished in 1937, people now pay a tax dependant on how polluting their vehicle is, everybody who pays income tax contributes to the upkeep of our roads, whether they drive or not I would expect a county Councillor to be aware of this simple fact
Cllr Holley said “How are you going to enforce it in Landore, in Manselton, in Penlan?” he said. “Are they going to put speed cameras on every corner?” – basically this ridiculous line of arguement could be used against any speed limit anywhere and the corollary would be no speed limits anywhere. As for Cllr Holley wanting to hear more details about 20mph pilot schemes that have been running in Wales. Perhaps if he did his job and simply went to the Welsh Gov website where all thus info is available then he might be enlightened.
Holley……probably the worst ever SCC leader. Pathetic little man.
“Absolute Nonsense” is how I’d describe Holley and some of his policies whilst in office.
The joke that was the “Boulevard”. A few trees planted down the middle of the main road, which was constantly being dug up for years.
Then there was the bendy buses, which resulted in a bizzare reconfiguration of The Kingsway.
All of this had to be fixed by the incoming Labour council.
Holley and his schemes have cost Swansea a fortune to put right.
The guy in question is likely a prat, and no political ally of mine, but he has a very good point – this policy is trendy, shallow, unenforcable nonsense.
Wales really is becoming a nation of divs and unwitting dupes. Dont go expecting anyone to change the situation though – our so called leaders have handed over their gonads for a lovely fat paycheck.
Common sense…a very rare commodity these days…you can fit a governor to a vehicle, many commercial vehicles have them already, nowadays every car has several computers in them to control all sorts of functions, indeed some cars have made the driver redundant…just saying…
From reading a previous article i hope it also applies to cyclists!