Wales Set to Return Some 20mph Zones to 30mph

Some of the roads that had their speed limit changed from 30mph to 20mph last year in Wales are set to have that change reversed

20mph road sign

After Wales set many roads to 20mph speed limits last year, some of those are set to be reversed.

The Welsh Transport Secretary, Ken Skates, who assumed the role earlier this year, insists that changing some of the roads back to 30mph is not a walk-back of the speed limit changes brought in last year.

Instead, he told the Welsh Senedd on 23 April that it is a “refining [of] the policy”.

“The principal objective of the policy is to enable people to feel safer in their communities through reducing collisions,” Skates said. “What I am now doing 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. To achieve this, we are initiating a number of actions.”

The most fundamental part of Skates’ plan, he says, is listening to people, to understand what people want from the roads around them. “The first element of my approach,” Skates said, “is to have a genuine programme of listening to people. Between now and July, we will listen to citizens, to bus drivers, emergency services, the police, young people, vulnerable people, businesses, and councillors in county, town and community councils”.
Skates assures that his plan goes beyond simply listening, though, as work is being done with councils to prepare for and understand where changes might or should be implemented.

“Councils are already looking at local roads where changes might be needed,” Skates said. “As part of our listening programme, I will encourage people to get in touch with their local council to tell them where they think 20mph should be targeted.”

The final part of Skates’ plan is, expectedly, to implement the changes desired, and keeping the 20mph zones where they are wanted and changing them back to 30mph where they are not, and this will be decided by local councils and the public, Skates says.

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

Further, implementation of reversions to 30mph will not be paid for by local councils. Skates said: “Let me be clear on another important point that's emerged through my engagement with council leaders this week: I absolutely recognise the range of pressures facing our partners in local government, and this Government is committed to ensuring that they have the resources they need to implement change. We will not expect councils, who are facing difficult financial pressures, to cover the cost of adjusting routes back to 30mph.”

People living in Wales will have until July 2024 to voice their opinion on the speed limits implemented in the roads in their area.

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