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Welsh Government to revise 20mph guidance for councils

23 Apr 2024 5 minute read
Cabinet Secretary for Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates – Image: Senedd Cymru

Emily Price

The Welsh Government will revise its 20mph guidance for councils so that some roads can switch back to 30mph, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport has announced.

In a speech outlining his transport priorities to the Senedd, Ken Skates pledged to put the voice of Welsh citizens at the heart of decision making on transport while setting out a three-phase plan on 20mph.

The £34m policy was introduced on restricted roads in Wales in September 2023.

It saw the default speed limit shift from 30mph to 20mph – although councils could make exemptions under Welsh Government guidance.

However, the guidance for councils was criticised for being too rigid and calls were made for it to be reviewed.

Mr Skates said the Welsh Government will now work jointly with local authorities to prepare the ground for changes.

This will include revising the guidance on which local roads can be exempted from 20mph.

Consultations

The revised guidance will be published in July, with councils expected to start detailed consultation on changes from September.

The three-phase plan will include listening to citizens, bus drivers, emergency services, the police, young people, vulnerable people, businesses and councillors in county, town and community councils.

Once local authorities have worked with communities and new guidance is finalised, highway authorities will be able to adjust speed limits on relevant roads.

This process is expected to begin in September.

The Cabinet Secretary said: “We’ve started by listening. I have been clear in all my conversations that we will put communities at the heart of our thinking and will listen to people.

“As I have already said there is growing consensus on safe speeds in communities that we can build from. We continue to believe 20mph is the right speed limit in places such as near schools, hospitals, nurseries, community centres, play areas and in built-up residential areas.

“The principal objective of the policy is to save lives and reduce casualties on our roads.  What I am doing now is listening to what people want for the roads in their communities, and pressing ahead with refining the policy and getting the right speed on the right roads.”

The Cabinet Secretary is encouraging people in Wales to let their council know where they think 20mph could be better targeted.

He added: “Ultimately, the degree of change in each of our 22 local authority areas will not be determined by me and the Welsh Government, but by the public and by councils as the highway authority for most residential roads.”

The Welsh Government says it does not expect councils to cover the cost of reverting routes back to 30mph.

Opposition 

Shadow Transport Minister Natasha Asghar described the announcement as a “comms exercise”.

She said: “All of Labour’s talk of change on their flawed 20mph speed limit was sadly just a comms exercise which has consequently made people from all corners of Wales believe that their roads will be going back to 30mph.

“The bottom line is that after all of Labour’s talk about listening to the Welsh people, the default speed limit across Wales will remain 20mph. Nothing has changed to everyone inside and outside of Wales.

“Instead of making councils clean up the mess of this daft, divisive and destructive policy, it should be scrapped in its entirety, so common sense can prevail and 20mph remains where it is needed such as outside schools, play areas, high streets, places of worship etc.”

Delivering

Plaid Cymru spokesperson for transport, Delyth Jewell MS said: “From roads to public transport – the Labour Government must focus on delivering infrastructure that works for our communities.

“Over six months have passed since Plaid Cymru tabled a Senedd amendment, and won the vote, gaining a commitment from the Welsh Government to review the effect of new limits and to empower local authorities to make further exemptions.

“Plaid Cymru fully backs the principle of widespread 20mph zones to make our roads safer and save lives – but no one can deny that there have been widespread problems with its implementation from day one.

“The Labour Government need to put this right by using the powers passed in Plaid Cymru’s amendment, and work with local authorities and communities to get this policy right once and for all.”

The 20mph policy was brought in under former First Minister Mark Drakeford and the former deputy minister in charge of transport, Lee Waters.

Petition

A record breaking Senedd petition calling for it to be axed collected almost half a million signatures amid public backlash.

The road regulation has enjoyed support from groups such as 20′ Plenty For Us as well as the Future Generations Commissioner, Derek Walker.

Lee Waters stepped down prior to Easter recess and Mr Skates was appointed the Cabinet Secretary for Transport following the appointment of Vaughan Gething as First Minister.

Information on how people can contact their local authority will be available on the Welsh Government website.


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Swn Y Mor
Swn Y Mor
29 days ago

More can kicking, ‘the revised guidance will be published in July, with councils expected to start detailed consultation on changes from September. The three-phase plan will include listening to citizens, bus drivers, emergency services, the police, young people, vulnerable people, businesses and councillors in county, town and community councils. Once local authorities have worked with communities and new guidance is finalised, highway authorities will be able to adjust speed limits on relevant roads. This process is expected to begin in September’. We are only in April now! This is aimed at the voter who only reads the headlines not the detail.… Read more »

A.Redman
A.Redman
29 days ago
Reply to  Swn Y Mor

Jo Public as usual!!! 🤬

Why vote
Why vote
29 days ago

We have voted for dumb and dumber, the labour party elite that dreamt this up and implemented this and then run away, the new crew in charge are now bluffing their way through amendments to the scheme that they dreamt up to try to cover their own jobs, if they are listening to the public as they say then they must be deaf and unable to understand what was asked in the petition to repeal this law of their on making this is labour and plaids mess yet they still want to tinker around the edges of their doomed policy.… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
29 days ago
Reply to  Why vote

You say ” this is Labour and Plaid’s mess” why have you left out the Tory party, who, all bar Darren Millar, voted for this to be introduced in 2020 , why, even ART “Blanket” Davies posed for a photo opportunity with the “20 is plenty ” posters.

Richard 1
Richard 1
29 days ago

This sounds like a rational process and I am pleased that there is no apparent rush to throw the policy into reverse. I hope NC will keep me informed about the consultations.

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