Wales Reducing Speed Limit To
32 km/h In Residential Areas
17 SEPT - Wales has become the first country in the UK to reduce speed limits in built-up areas from 30mph to 20mph in Wales from today, the BBC announced.
Welsh ministers said a 20mph (32km/h) limit would reduce deaths and noise and encourage people to walk or cycle.
The law will change the speed limit on about 35% of Welsh roads where lamp-posts are no more than 200 yards (183m) apart. The Welsh government said the 20mph national speed limit would reduce road collisions, road deaths, noise and pollution. Latest official figures show more people were killed or seriously injured in 30mph zones in Wales last year than at any other speed limit. Of the 1,014 people killed or severely hurt on Welsh roads in 2022, more than 40% (421) were hit on a 30mph stretch of road. Road safety campaigners “Brake” said a person's risk of dying if they are hit by a car travelling at 30mph is five times greater than if the car was travelling at 20mph. Wales' first minister Mark Drakeford said it would "keep people from losing their lives". "It's going to take you a minute longer to make your journey, and we will save 10 people's lives in Wales every year as a result of that one minute contribution - it doesn't seem an unfair bargain," Drakeford said.
But a Welsh government-commissioned consultation found more were against the speed limit than in support of it. One of the Labour-led government's own documents said longer journeys could cause a "substantial" economic disadvantage. Its "central estimate" was an economic hit of £4.5bn over 30 years. The UK government's House of Commons leader, Penny Mordaunt, called the new 20mph default limit "insane" and said it was "punishing" motorists. The Welsh Conservatives said they were in favour of a 20mph limit outside schools, hospitals and care homes - but called the blanket rollout "disastrous, frankly ludicrous and a war on motorists".
From today, if you're pulled over doing more than 20mph in a built-up area in Wales you could, in theory, be fined a minimum £100 and get three penalty points. Police say the response will be proportionate and reasonable while drivers get used to the change. They said the focus for the first 12 months would be on education, with officers given a level of discretion. "Our priority is to help people understand why they should slow down and the benefits to their community," said South Wales Police's assistant chief constable, Mark Travis. "Where we find people driving above 20mph, we will stop drivers and speak to them about the dangers and risks about driving above the speed limit.
The UK's first 20mph zone was introduced in Tinsley, Sheffield in 1991. Now many UK counties, towns and cities have 20mph limits on some of their residential roads, but Wales is the first to introduce it coutry-wide. Wales will follow Spain, which made a similar change to 30km/h (19mph) in 2019, by lowering the speed limit nationwide. Paris and Brussels are mostly 30km/h (19mph) on their roads while Amsterdam is to follow suit later this year.