UK Charity says Welsh Gov u-turn on 20mph sacrifices safety of pedestrians

Welsh Government has announced that some 20mph routes in Wales will revert to 30mph.

The Transport Secretary has indicated that current guidance will be changed to allow each local authority to decide which roads will return to 30mph, but it’s not clear how this will be agreed.

Living Streets Cymru, part of the UK charity for everyday walking has expressed concern following the announcement.

Ruth Billingham, Head of Campaigns, Living Streets Cymru, said:

“This decision will cost pedestrian lives – the only question is how many.

“We are extremely concerned that the people most vulnerable to speeding traffic – namely children, disabled people and older people – will not be given a fair choice about whether roads in their communities will revert to 30mph.

“It’s also unclear why the Welsh Government has chosen to reject the findings of its own survey, which demonstrated that most adults in Wales support a 20mph speed limit in their own neighbourhoods.[1]

“We know that speeding traffic prevents children from walking to school. It’s not enough just to have 20mph limits on roads around schools and nurseries – the whole of the walk to school needs to be safe.

“The evidence shows that these policies save lives[2] and make roads safer, but it takes time to for all the benefits to be felt. Rowing back on the policy after just six months indicates that fear has got the best of the Welsh Government.”

Owen Williams, parent and school governor in Barry said:

“I walk my little girl to school every day and since the 20mph limit has come in the streets feel so much safer and friendlier. I don’t see how it would be possible to keep children safe by only enforcing 20mph outside schools – families are everywhere.

“It’s depressing to think the town might go back to 30mph, it would be a big step backwards for Welsh Government. Personally, I will be asking my local council to keep our roads safe, but I don’t know if it will be enough.




[2] Similar speed limits have been implemented in France, Finland and Australia but Wales is the first nation in the world to go back on 20mph. Spain reduced the speed limit to 30km/h (18.64mph) on the majority of its roads in 2019 and saw pedestrian fatalities reduce by 24 per cent.

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