Backlash over Labour-run Welsh Government’s £32m plan to cut speed limit from 30mph to 20mph in ALL built up areas in bid to encourage more walking and cycling
The world’s first blanket 20mph limit on all residential roads is set to be introduced in Wales in a bid to cut back on people driving – but furious locals have slammed the move.
Mark Drakeford’s Labour Government is set to be the first in the world to lower the limit from 30mph to 20mph in a bid to encourage people to walk and cycle more.
But Conservative politicians blasted the ‘ridiculous’ £32million plans – and said the rules should be set by local councils and ‘those who know their roads best’.
Shadow transport minister Natasha Ashgar MS said: ‘The Welsh Conservatives are not against introducing 20mph speed limits outside schools, playgrounds, places of worship and high streets, but a blanket roll-out is quite frankly ludicrous.’
‘With a price tag of more than £32million, is this really money well spent at a time when the Labour Government should be focused on tackling the big issues at hand such as the cost of living? I don’t think it is, and I am sure residents across the country will be thinking the exact same.
Mark Drakeford’s Labour Government in Wales is set to be the first in the world to lower the limit from 30mph to 20mph in a bid to encourage people to walk and cycle more
Mother Adie Drury, 39, (pictured) started a petition against the rollout in Buckley, Flintshire, saying the move will lead to ‘bikes overtaking cars’
‘This is yet another diktat imposed by Labour from Cardiff Bay.
‘Speed limits like this should be decided by councils in their local areas, not top-down by Labour ministers. Let’s give local people the power over their communities, the very people who know their roads best.’
Campaigners for the road rule rollout say the chances of someone surviving a 20mph collision is seven times higher than at 30mph.
First Minister Drakford said: ‘We know that 20mph zones reduce speed of traffic, reduce accidents – particularly accidents to children.
‘We want to see that become the default position right across Wales.’
The Welsh Government says the move will save £58million over 30 years due to reduced emergency service demand and hospital treatment.
Mother Adie Drury, 39, started a petition against the rollout in Buckley, Flintshire, saying the move will lead to ‘bikes overtaking cars’.
She said: ‘The community has no problem with a 20mph limit where it’s necessary and where it’s safe, like outside schools, health centres in housing estates and in heavily pedestrianised areas.
‘I was raised on a housing estate and played football in the road when I was a child and it’s good to invite the community into the road-space – but it should be where it is appropriate.
Mark Drakeford (pictured) welcomed the move and said that he wants ‘to see that become the default position right across Wales’
How will the 20mph speed limit work in Wales?
The 20mph speed limit in Wales will come into force on all restricted roads if voted for in Parliament.
It’s a plan that is projected to have cost £32million.
Restricted roads are defined as those that have lampposts placed not more than 200 yards apart.
This normally includes areas where there is lots of pedestrian activity and residential housing.
Local authorities can make exceptions on certain roads, but the limit will be in place outside schools.
The Welsh Parliament will vote on it on Tuesday – and if successful, the speed limits will change in September 2023.
If drivers are caught going over 20mph, there is currently a minimum penalty for speeding is £100 fine.
Three points can also be added to your licence.
‘You wouldn’t want your child playing football in an arterial road so why is the arterial road being made 20mph?
‘Cyclists are having a whale of a time on Liverpool Road because they can do more than 20mph on their bikes and we can’t do more than 20mph in a car – so I’ve had quite a lot of reports of people being overtaken by cycles.’
She added: ‘They would like us to stop using our cars and use our legs to cycle and walk, but we haven’t got the infrastructure to do that here.
‘We’ve no cycle lanes, have narrow lanes and public transport is poor. We don’t all live in Cardiff and have Cardiff’s infrastructure, public transport and industry on our doorstep.
‘Our nearest cities and big towns is where our industry is and that’s where people have to travel to, you can’t do 15 to 20 miles each way on a bike when you’ve got kids to pick up and drop off. In rural places, that isn’t possible and that needs to be recognised.
‘Nobody is in favour of worsening safety on the roads or making it more dangerous for children and people to cross the road but at the same time, people have got busy lives.
‘Our message to government before they inflict this sort of thing on another town is improve infrastructure and involve the community. Give us the cycle lanes and an alternative to the car first.’