Welsh Secretary defends calls for the enforcement of a 20 mile per hour speed limit in Monmouthshire
Twm Owen, local democracy reporter
Welsh Secretary David TC Davies has defended his support for a 20 mile per hour speed limit despite his own party’s repeated criticism of the policy.
Speaking in his role as Monmouth MP, Mr Davies joined with a local councillor to call for the enforcement of the reduced limit in Caerwent.
The MP issued a press release outlining “anger” from residents who claimed the limit hasn’t been enforced, an issue Mr Davies promised to raise with police.
The speed limit in the village was lowered from 30mph in the spring as the new 20mph maximum was trialled across the Severnside area of Monmouthshire.
It was one of eight communities across Wales selected for the Welsh Government pilot and in July the Senedd voted to make Wales the first UK nation to adopt 20mph as the default speed limit for all roads in built up areas.
But the policy, which allows councils to approve a higher speed limit if a road meets an agreed criteria, has faced constant criticism from the Welsh Conservatives.
Just this week the party’s shadow transport minister Natasha Asghar claimed it was putting the brakes on the Welsh economy and said: “Instead of slowing Wales down like it is with default 20mph speed limits and the roadbuilding ban, maybe Labour should grip the wheel and get Wales moving again with a pro-growth, pro-business, pro-worker programme that works for drivers.”
But Mr Davies and Councillor Phil Murphy, who represents Caerwent on Monmouthshire County Council, said there is no conflict between their calls for the 20mph limit to be enforced and the party’s opposition to the policy.
Mr Davies, who had said residents had complained to him the 20mph limit had “attracted poor driving behaviour”, said he supported a lower limit if there is a road safety issue.
He said: “I am not in favour of a blanket 20mph restriction but would support these in areas where there is a clear road safety issue. If we are going to have them they need to be properly enforced.”
Cllr Murphy, who was a member of the former Conservative council administration which put the area forward for the 20mph pilot, said he also supported 20mph limits where there is a need on road safety grounds.
He said he also welcomed Monmouthshire’s decision to restore the higher 30mph limit in Caldicot, which had also been part of the trial.
The Go Safe partnership, which works with all Welsh police forces on speed enforcement, has said it does carry out enforcement operations in Caerwent.
Inspector Jason Williams from Gwent Police said anyone caught speeding will be prosecuted and it has also been involved in raising awareness of the 20mph limit.
He said: “As part of the pilot 20mph scheme, our teams have supported GoSafe through a number of engagement activities.
“Officers have attended, alongside colleagues from South Wales Fire & Rescue Service, more than 20 community engagement events to encourage to adhere to the roll out of 20mph zones.”
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