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20mph speed limits in Wales

I may have missed it but I've not seen this discussed here.

A (non cycling) message board I belong to has been in meltdown, 'long delays to my journey', 'more accidents caused by drivers staring at their speedometers',  'increased pollution caused by slower traffic and car engines being inefficient at 20mph'.

Also many of them signing a protest petition despite non of them being Welsh or living in Wales!

 

If you're new please join in and if you have questions pop them below and the forum regulars will answer as best we can.

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yupiteru replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
5 likes

A public consultation was launched in July 2021 so I have been aware myself that things were happening since at least that time, but I did see it in the Labour and Plaid Cymru manifestos and the Tories were in full support of 20mph as well with a majority of them voting for it.  The Lib Dems wanted 15 minute cities more.

I understand most don't read manifestos!

But in my experience most people have probably known about it for well over a year, probably longer, because July 2022 is when the legislation was passed by the Welsh Govt. and this was well publicised in Wales, so at least for over a year i would say when people found out the legislation had been passed but probably longer being aware of what was in the pipeline..

For many people it was case of being aware, but they lived in denial that it was actually going to happen, mainly down to a negative experience of politicians making promises they do not keep most likely.

 

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Rendel Harris replied to yupiteru | 5 months ago
2 likes

Thanks, that was very much my impression given that I knew all about it from the mainstream press long before it happened, I think people in Wales have access to the same news channels I do! Everyone I know who lives in Wales has been talking about this either negatively or positively for months...

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grumpyoldcyclist replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
3 likes

Most wereaware, there was even a leaflet drop through the door in the week leading up to the change

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bikeman01 replied to yupiteru | 4 months ago
0 likes
yupiteru wrote:

20mph signs went up on the A road in my village in south Wales last week and there was an instant change for the better in my opinion

As many would agree except it's not just a limit in the villages is it.

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bikeman01 replied to yupiteru | 4 months ago
1 like

I don't think many would disagree that 20mph in villages and residential areas is a good thing. It's what is has been happening in Oxfordshire for several months now.

Its the blanket reduction from 30mph to 20mph across both main roads and residential rpoads (wiith few exceptions) that people dont like. 

When it's possible to to avoid enforcement and make faster progress by cutting through residential neighbourhoods, something has gone wrong.

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RMF | 5 months ago
2 likes

https://nation.cymru/news/new-research-details-astonishing-impact-of-wal...

An interesting article, which shows the immediate impact of the changes to speed limits. Scientific data backs this up, not the crap spouted by RT Davies and co

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Hirsute replied to RMF | 5 months ago
3 likes

". Bill
5 hours ago
It’s dangerous.

On the odd occasion I or a passenger have the natural experience of breaking wind within the boundaries of the travelling car.
In some instances the smell is so bad it’s near impossible to gain enough oxygen.
At 30MPH and the windows open is a live saver.
At 20MPH for some , it could possibly be fatal , ( taking much longer for fresh air to enter the car. "

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AidanR replied to RMF | 5 months ago
10 likes

"The introduction of the new speed limit has sparked a fierce backlash among some members of the public in Wales.

A petition launched calling for the repeal of the laws has passed 400,000 signatures, making it the most popular Senedd petition of all time.

On Saturday, a march against the speed limit’s introduction attracted over one hundred protesters."

So, when limited to people actually from Wales and who care enough to turn out in person, it's around 100 people. Wow.

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chrisonabike replied to AidanR | 5 months ago
11 likes
AidanR wrote:

So, when limited to people actually from Wales and who care enough to turn out in person, it's around 100 people. Wow.

It would have been thousands, but all the others were delayed ... (*checks article about this*) ... by up to several minutes.

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60kg lean keen ... replied to RMF | 5 months ago
0 likes
RMF wrote:

https://nation.cymru/news/new-research-details-astonishing-impact-of-wal... An interesting article, which shows the immediate impact of the changes to speed limits. Scientific data backs this up, not the crap spouted by RT Davies and co

Wow, 2.9mph drop in average speed,  I hope it was worth it? As now Wesh labour has handed the keys to the Senedd to whoever can make political headway on this “wedge issue”,  it's a gift to both Plaid, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. This is a vanity project that will morph into a poison chalice,  and it isn't just Welsh Labour who will pay the price for this, but all who live in Wales.  Partially if the party led by RT Davies gain the most traction on this issue. 

 

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Steve K replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 5 months ago
5 likes
60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:

Wow, 2.9mph drop in average speed,  I hope it was worth it? As now Wesh labour has handed the keys to the Senedd to whoever can make political headway on this “wedge issue”,  it's a gift to both Plaid, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. This is a vanity project that will morph into a poison chalice,  and it isn't just Welsh Labour who will pay the price for this, but all who live in Wales.  Partially if the party led by RT Davies gain the most traction on this issue.

It's not the average speed drop that matters; it is the amount of time drivers are driving fast. 

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60kg lean keen ... replied to Steve K | 5 months ago
1 like

I don't doubt the maths, but that is not the point, as most people will not be interested in having statistics and the like thrown at them. They are just interested in the tangible, what they see and feel.  Yes if roads become less frenetic and calmer, then they may mellow and accept  the new normal,  but if this is not something you can rely on.  Partially if this is used for political gain.  You can be in favour or against, but using 9 ish words in a manifesto and then a pretty shonky consultation - survey to gain support to go ahead, this is what I hear all the time when this issue is raised.  Is that true, I don't know but as with so many issues in our political landscape today,  that is not often what people are interested in.  All they have experienced and felt was something poorly implemented and which then failed to bring a big chunk of the electorate on side,  That's the problem.

 

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Sniffer replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 5 months ago
7 likes

I am a bit confused by your stance on this.  I don't live in Wales and I wish the Nation I live in had adopted this policy when it had the chance, but at least for now, that didn't happen.

What is bothering you most?

  • The concept
  • The way it was implented
  • The fact that it was a Labour administration that implemented it.
  • Or that cars were not slowed by more than 2.9mph

Slowing and removing cars from places that pedestrians (never mind cyclists) are vulnerable will be the 21st Century equivalent of the smoking ban.  Lots of noise and complaints before it happens.  Once it is in place, nobody will seriously argue to remove it.

Devolution is the same, certainly in Scotland.  There is no serious political force that looking to remove it.

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60kg lean keen ... replied to Sniffer | 5 months ago
1 like

I am in favour of 20mph limits, but the way it has been implemented has left Labour open to defeat, and given non progressives within Wales a wedge issue.  There are so many conflicting reports and studies on this matter, many posted in response to my posts (on the left in favour of 20 limits!), but who do you believe?  It has been pushed through without a real consultation that has engaged with the wider public, yes know it was in the manifesto but so many I speak to here in Wales say it was just a short sentence within a wider context of policies that would be of benefit (one spoke to me that He voted for labour even though it was in there as the alternative parties were not a option to Him). They could have achieved the reduction in speed via expanding the 20MPH limits as they have in place historically and without the toxicity that this has caused around this issue, I believe they have now made it harder to implement wider road injuries and death reduction policies in the future.  I have even heard an old wound of the north-south divide coming up,  if you look at the map you will

 

https://datamap.gov.wales/maps/roads-affected-by-changes-to-the-speed-li...

 

see that exemptions are a lot less in the north than the south (Wrexham is large and it has 10???).  Why was the signage not done before the 17th? Why are some roads that are wide open and semi rural now down to 20MPH,  what benefit is that?  I know that it is an ongoing process and some 20 will be lifted in due course, but do it properly first time, then you will soften the blow and give less traction to the dissenters, councils and the Welsh Gov have had the time! I know that my view may be unpopular but it is what I feel is the real issue for Me, hope that that gives you an answer. 

 

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Rendel Harris replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 5 months ago
3 likes
60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:

(one spoke to me that He voted for labour even though it was in there as the alternative parties were not a option to Him)

Wow, even God votes Labour? Cool.

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chrisonabike replied to Rendel Harris | 5 months ago
3 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:
60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:

(one spoke to me that He voted for labour even though it was in there as the alternative parties were not a option to Him)

Wow, even God votes Labour? Cool.

He might have mixed him up with a sandal-wearing JC when Jezza was in a mellow mood. After closing time on a very dark night, maybe.

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Simon E replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 5 months ago
6 likes
60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:

I am in favour of 20mph limits, but the way it has been implemented has left Labour open to defeat, and given non progressives within Wales a wedge issue.

They don't need a wedge issue and the more vociferous on social media and newspaper comments can make it appear very one-sided.

The benefits of 20 mph are clear to anyone who bothers to find out. I don't know about how the government make sure everyone with a vote gets to read about it, after all political engagement is at a pretty low ebb these days. But if it's in a manifesto then don't be surprised if they win and it is implemented.

Do we need a referendum on the implementation of every single policy? This one has to be one of the least 'invasive' significant changes I can think of - after all, it's merely asking people to drive a little slower in certain situations - yet it is subject to such vehement opposition, like LTNs. Is that a coincidence? I believe it says a lot about driver attitudes and what Carlton Reid called their 'road ownership issues' plus the willingness of a small number of people to vandalise signs or criminal damage (thereby adding to the cost of the scheme).

The changes to the Highway Code are slightly different and definitely were not subjected to anything remotely like a similar level of coverage.

I expect there are things they could do differently but nothing is perfect and try as you might you won't ever please everyone. 'Perfect is the enemy of good'. They could have done it piecemeal but that would have been far less effective and drawn far less attention; if nothing else, the noise has helped push the argument for why it is a good thing. I hope that like previous safety campaigns it eventually gets through to people that it's a positive step in road safety, regardless of whether they actually like it or not. I'm sure there were lots of pub landlords who preferred their punters to drive home pissed-up... until they crashed into a tree or a bridge and died (or killed a whole family in another vehicle).

I suspect the map doesn't tell the whole story. When I looked earlier in the week there were some towns with lots of yellow (e.g. Bangor, Aberystwyth) and others with sod-all showing (Llandudno and the places I know well in Mid-Wales). I've yet to visit those places in person since the change. As for the north-south divide then that's a figment of someone's over-active imagination.

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60kg lean keen ... replied to Simon E | 5 months ago
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chrisonabike replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 5 months ago
1 like

thanks for explaining, I'm not sure I'd agree as it seems ANY issue which sounds like restricting driving (even if it actually doesn't) is always available to any current politico to try and make a "wedge issue".
I would take issue with:

60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:

It has been pushed through without a real consultation that has engaged with the wider public, yes know it was in the manifesto but so many I speak to here in Wales say it was just a short sentence within a wider context of policies that would be of benefit ...

This is a very common refrain. Aside from possibly the EU referenda (stay in the EC, then leave the EU out) when has such a thing ever occurred? Not saying it shouldn't but why do people think they're missing out? (yes the AV one was another - and people voted for their votes not counting! )

I know as it's been said that people ignore things because it doesn't seem interesting, or it's too far off, or "they'll never do it" or just burying their head in the sand.

This one though - genuine question - without spending the very millions it cost to do it how else could people be more thoroughly notified, never mind asked to participate and given some specific agency?

Actually... maybe use some volunteers here and start a social media craze to get schoolkids to sticker an ad on every car windscreen and wi ... side retrovision device in the land?

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60kg lean keen ... replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
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chrisonabike replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 5 months ago
3 likes

Meh, reads like another:

"IS something we found on Facebook the most SHOCKING thing since the last thing we found?"

TBH if the tone of Facebook posts is used as a gauge you'd expect to find a cyclist hanging from a lamppost on every other street.

People were marching by his house a couple of years back.

Does he have police protection already (like we have in Scotland)?

I don't know - but my guess is that this will blow over.  Probably depends partly on how strongly the Conservative party and the media want to keep "but cars" at the top of the agenda.

Reports from other posters suggest outside of the web calm prevails?

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hawkinspeter replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 5 months ago
5 likes
60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:

Wow, 2.9mph drop in average speed,  I hope it was worth it? As now Wesh labour has handed the keys to the Senedd to whoever can make political headway on this “wedge issue”,  it's a gift to both Plaid, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems. This is a vanity project that will morph into a poison chalice,  and it isn't just Welsh Labour who will pay the price for this, but all who live in Wales.  Partially if the party led by RT Davies gain the most traction on this issue. 

2.9mph drop seems quite effective to me. As I live in England, I don't have a strong opinion on this change, though anything that reins in out-of-control drivers generally gets a thumbs up from me. The crucial point though, apart from the so-called political wedging is how many lives will it save? Let's not forget one of the main reasons that this has been seen as necessary.

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quiff replied to hawkinspeter | 5 months ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:

2.9mph drop seems quite effective to me.

Interesting though that the quoted drop is from 22mph to 19mph. Presumably the routes tested include a variety of different speed limits, (not just roads that were 30 and are now 20), but it highlights the difference between the old speed limit and the average speed people were actually achieving in the real world.    

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chrisonabike replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 5 months ago
6 likes
60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:

This is a vanity project that will morph into a poison chalice,  and it isn't just Welsh Labour who will pay the price for this, but all who live in Wales.  Partially if the party led by RT Davies gain the most traction on this issue.

Why is this a vanity project?  That sort of accusation would be more appropriate if they'd built another motorway...

- It's about not just "saving lives" but actually preventing accidents (more time to think / react).
 - It's already been shown to have an impact - without even physically changing the road infra OR deploying hundreds of extra police!  Granted, not an amazing one in terms of average speed but that is not the point.  Which is having people driving slower where the limits have changed.
 - The fact that at national level the Conservatives have very recently done a U-turn on "maybe we should consider the impact of all this driving"* and are now playing up "war on the hard-pressed motorist" isn't the fault of those who commissioned studies and made this happen starting several years back.

* Their national policies have trended - very cautiously - towards "careful now!" with mass motoring (or the pollution from it), and a few other changes e.g. Road Safety Investigation Board, a few more beans for active travel etc.

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60kg lean keen ... replied to chrisonabike | 5 months ago
1 like
chrisonatrike wrote:
60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:

This is a vanity project that will morph into a poison chalice,  and it isn't just Welsh Labour who will pay the price for this, but all who live in Wales.  Partially if the party led by RT Davies gain the most traction on this issue.

Why is this a vanity project?  That sort of accusation would be more appropriate if they'd built another motorway...

- It's about not just "saving lives" but actually preventing accidents (more time to think / react).
 - It's already been shown to have an impact - without even physically changing the road infra OR deploying hundreds of extra police!  Granted, not an amazing one in terms of average speed but that is not the point.  Which is having people driving slower where the limits have changed.
 - The fact that at national level the Conservatives have very recently done a U-turn on "maybe we should consider the impact of all this driving"* and are now playing up "war on the hard-pressed motorist" isn't the fault of those who commissioned studies and made this happen starting several years back.

* Their national policies have trended - very cautiously - towards "careful now!" with mass motoring (or the pollution from it), and a few other changes e.g. Road Safety Investigation Board, a few more beans for active travel etc.

It has cost £33 millon pounds! Spend that on NHS cancer screening, childrens early years stuff,  the list goes on. Now how many lives will you save?? Wales is small in pop, so that is a big amount of money.  They should have spent less and rolled out - expanded 20MPH zones as they have been doing so historicaly.

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AidanR replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 5 months ago
4 likes
60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:

It has cost £33 millon pounds! Spend that on NHS cancer screening, childrens early years stuff,  the list goes on. Now how many lives will you save?? Wales is small in pop, so that is a big amount of money.  They should have spent less and rolled out - expanded 20MPH zones as they have been doing so historicaly.

£33m might sound like a lot of money to an individual, but it's 0.15% of the Welsh annual budget.

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60kg lean keen ... replied to AidanR | 5 months ago
1 like
AidanR wrote:
60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:

It has cost £33 millon pounds! Spend that on NHS cancer screening, childrens early years stuff,  the list goes on. Now how many lives will you save?? Wales is small in pop, so that is a big amount of money.  They should have spent less and rolled out - expanded 20MPH zones as they have been doing so historicaly.

£33m might sound like a lot of money to an individual, but it's 0.15% of the Welsh annual budget.

33m would pay for about a 1000 Paramedics on 32k, that might help.

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Sniffer replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 5 months ago
7 likes

Careful you might conflate a one-off capital cost with an annual cost.

And, the full cost of a paramedic is alot more that just the wage of the person doing the job.

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grumpyoldcyclist replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 5 months ago
4 likes

No it wouldn't. Training costs, vehicle costs, pension costs etc etc. It wouldn't come close

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hawkinspeter replied to 60kg lean keen climbing machine | 5 months ago
5 likes
60kg lean keen climbing machine wrote:

It has cost £33 millon pounds! Spend that on NHS cancer screening, childrens early years stuff,  the list goes on. Now how many lives will you save?? Wales is small in pop, so that is a big amount of money.  They should have spent less and rolled out - expanded 20MPH zones as they have been doing so historicaly.

It looks like the return on the £33 million is pretty good though (https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2023/sep/15/wales-is-bringing-in-a-20mph-speed-limit-why-and-what-will-happen):

Quote:

Opponents say the scheme will cost the Welsh economy £4.5bn. Is that true?

The figure comes from a Welsh government report, which makes it awkward for Labour. The cost is for a 30-year period and the government now says it may not be accurate as it takes into account the impact of every single journey – even if it is just a trip to, say, the local park. It prefers to highlight the cost of introducing 20mph – £32m. It says the policy could save the NHS £92m every year so the initial outlay will swiftly be covered.

Financially, that makes it look like a no-brainer.

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