Trials for a default 20mph speed limit on some Welsh residential roads will begin this summer, ahead of a planned national rollout in Spring 2023, writes David Moss.
The Welsh Government has announced plans for trials in eight areas, which it hopes will help uncover any as yet unappreciated problems, and help development of appropriate enforcement policies in advance of the full rollout.
The new lower limit is aimed at improving safety, and helping to make Welsh streets a more welcoming place for pedestrians and cyclists. The move comes after initial findings from a national public attitude survey revealed widespread support for the idea, with 92% of those wanting a speed limit change on their street suggesting 20mph or lower, and 77% saying they wanted this speed limit applied throughout the area where they live.
Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, said, “We have made progress on reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads over the 21 years of devolution, but despite our considerable efforts the highest proportion of all casualties, 50%, occurred on 30mph roads during 2018. Making 20mph the default speed limit in residential areas is a bold step, but decreasing speeds reduces accidents and saves lives – and alongside this the quality of life will improve, making room on our streets for safer active travel. This helps reduce our environmental impact and has a positive outcome for our physical and mental wellbeing.”
The selected areas are intended to be representative of typical residential locations across Wales, including villages, towns and cities. In all areas, public engagement will be a key feature of the trials, focussing on the value and benefits of a lower limit, and making the case for reduced speed – leading to safer and more cohesive communities.
A phased start to the trials will begin this summer, with all areas operational by the end of the year.
The eight locations are: Abergavenny, Monmouthshire; central north Cardiff; Severnside, Monmouthshire; Buckley, Flintshire; Cilfriw Village, Neath and Port Talbot; St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire; St Brides Major, Vale of Glamorgan and Llanelli north, Carmarthenshire.