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Welsh Conservatives lose vote to scrap 20mph default speed limit

13 Sep 2023 4 minute read
The Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd during the 20mph debate.

Emily Price

In the Senedd yesterday evening the Welsh Conservatives have failed in their bid to scrap the introduction of the new 20mph speed limit set to come into force this weekend.

A debate was led by the Tories on Wednesday (September 13) in an attempt stop the new speed limit which will see restricted roads change from 30mph to 20mph.

Following the debate Welsh Conservative Senedd Members voted against the new road safety regulation whilst Labour and Plaid Cymru MSs voted in support of the roll out.

During the debate, the Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters said the Conservatives have been against “every progressive reform” in the country.

He said: “They were opposed to the creation of the NHS, they opposed the creation of minimum wage, they were against the ban on smoking in public places. They were even against votes for women.

“They are always on the wrong side of history and they never learn. We will look back in years to come at the claims that have been made just as we saw with the claims that the Conservatives made about the impact of the charge for free carrier bags, the introduction of free bus passes for older people, the changes to laws on smacking children.

“We will find that their fears are overblown and their claims for calamity just don’t stack up”

The Shadow Minister for Transport, Natasha Asghar said there was still time for the Welsh Government to “abandon” their plans for the new speed limit and instead focus on “targeted measures”.

She also accused the Welsh Government of planning to look at changing other speed limits in Wales.

Ms Asghar asked the deputy minister for transport: “Are 20mph limits just the tip of the iceberg? Should residents expect to see this government ramp up it’s anti-drive agenda going forward?

“A councillor in north Wales emailed a resident saying, ‘over the next 12 – 18 months, Welsh government guidance is going to be provided to enable further speed changes to be reviewed for 40mph, 50mph and national speed limit roads.”

Poll

During the debate, Welsh Conservative Senedd Member, Tom Giffard pointed to the recent ITV Wales poll that showed two thirds of people in Wales oppose the new 20mph default speed limit.

Speaking in the chamber, Mr Giffard said: “With his usual flippant attitude, the Deputy Minister dismissed the poll as an outlier, just as he always does.

“He dismisses those that don’t agree with him. But I think deep down even he knows that the Welsh Labour Government have lost the battle of public opinion on this issue.”

The controversial image of the Leader of the Welsh Conservatives holding a “20 is plenty” sign during a press photo was raised in the chamber by the Leader of Plaid Cymru, Rhun ap Iorwerth.

Mr Iorwerth said: “We know of the picture of the leader of the Conservative Party supporting the 20’s Plenty for Us campaign because he thought that that suited at that particular time; he was more than happy to see that photograph taken.

“Now they’re calling for the scrapping of this change because he’s decided that that is politically expedient today, although he knows that the Welsh Government won’t scrap this change.”

The leader of the opposition intervened saying: “I wouldn’t have dared accuse you of hypocrisy, but if I look at the Record, I think it stands for itself that there is hypocrisy there.

“There is nothing wrong with the position of standing up for your own communities that have been overdeveloped to say that 20 mph is plenty in those particular communities, as I fought for in 2018.

“But, to have the blanket ban in proposals being put on the table at the moment is not the situation that will take Wales forward and will not reduce casualties as the Government wishes, as my lead spokesperson on transport highlighted that the Spanish figures are identifying with. ”

Wales will be the only UK nation to implement a 20mph default speed limit and the Welsh Government expects it to result in 40 percent fewer road collisions, saving six to 10 lives every year and avoiding 1,200- 2,000 people being injured.

The Welsh Conservatives have claimed that the new speed limit will cost the economy in Wales billions of pounds.

But speaking at a Welsh Government press conference on Monday (September 11) Mark Drakeford said although there will be a one off cost of £32m, the road safety reform would save the NHS three times as much every year.


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Martyn Jones
Martyn Jones
6 months ago

Welsh Labour proved just how far out of their depth they are with this ridiculous dangerous policy.

David
David
6 months ago

And ill vote for who ever scraps this lunacy

Maglocunos
Maglocunos
6 months ago

Transport for London (TfL) has released new data that show a significant reduction in the number of collisions since the implementation of 20mph speed limits on key roads. 

https://etsc.eu/20mph-limits-in-london-helping-to-reduce-collisions/

If it’s all right for London, it must be alright for Cymru!

Paul devois
Paul devois
6 months ago
Reply to  Maglocunos

You belive what you want
Who gets the mo ey for all the fines and charges in London?tfl
There will be more accidents as cyclists and scooters will now get inpatient and dodge in and out traffic
The results you have seen would have been published in a way to make things look better

Steve kay
Steve kay
6 months ago

And you lot want to get rid of the tories? They’re the only party with common sense.

Paul devois
Paul devois
6 months ago

They say its about pollution
Cars in gridlock as they are on the Mt 50mps zones were its back to back jams
How much pollution being pumped out there
This is about money
Our NHS worst in UK and few weeks back England has had to accept Welsh patients as waiting time here is out control
Labour and the Welsh assembly are doing this to try and raise the money that was there but have waisted
Never ha e I seen roads in wales so bad

rdaj
rdaj
6 months ago

Time for labour and plaid to get eviscerated at the ballot box.

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