A decision to make all urban roads across Wales 20mph has been branded “nonsensical and deeply disappointing” by Natasha Asghar MS.
Senedd members voted on the highly controversial scheme with the Welsh Conservatives voting against, and Plaid Cymru supporting Labour by giving it their backing.
Natasha Asghar MS (above) – who represents South East Wales and is the Shadow Minister for Transport – made the case for the £33m plan to be spiked during yesterday’s debate.
She also called for Welsh Government to invest in anti-drink driving campaigns and other road safety measures instead of the blanket 20mph limit due to become law in Autumn 2023.
She told the Senedd, “It is evident from the sheer number of letters and e-mails that I and my colleagues have been inundated with over the past few weeks that the trialling of the 20-mph speed restrictions is causing major problems on busy commuter roads and is undeniably a problem faced by communities all across Wales.
“From Buckley and Mold in the north to Caldicot and Abergavenny in the south, people have contacted me in their droves to express their concerns. The 20-mph speed limit has caused traffic congestion, frustration for drivers, and ill-feeling amongst residents—quite the opposite of what the intentions are behind this policy.
“The Department for Transport published a report on 20 mph speed limits in 2018. They concluded that the 20 mph speed zones have made no impact on road safety, and drivers have only reduced their speed by 0.7 mph in these zones. Also, speed was not the most common factor involved in road accidents. The biggest contributing factor to accidents was, in fact, a failure to observe on the part of both motorists and pedestrians.”
Speaking outside the chamber, Natasha Asghar MS, added, “I am deeply disappointed that Labour and Plaid Cymru have made motorists’ lives a misery in one fell swoop all in a desperate bid to get some eco-friendly kudos.
“Instead of listening to the residents of the public, tourists and businesses, Labour ministers have decided to put their fingers in their ears and push ahead regardless.
“This blanket 20mph limit is going to cost the taxpayer millions of pounds, which could’ve been spent on more effective measures to enhance road safety and will just lead to more congestion and traffic chaos.”
Paul Loughlin, partner and motoring law specialist at Stephensons said accident statistics suggested there would be reduced casualties and fatalities and lower limits are part of a nationwide drive by Government but added, “As to how effective this will be is unclear given that some research has shown that only 13% of people adhere to the lower 20mph zones.
“It will certainly be interesting to see both how effective this is in Wales and whether they are rolled out further across the UK in time.”