Welsh Government set to cut speed limit to 20mph in all built up areas – will the rest of the UK follow suit?

Welsh Government set to cut speed limit to 20mph in all built up areas – will the rest of the UK follow suit?
In a global first, the Welsh Government has announced that all residential roads in the country will have the speed limit reduced to 20mph.

The £32 million, Labour-backed plans will be introduced by the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford in an effort to lower road collisions and pollution across the country. The rules with be enforced on ‘restricted roads’ – those that have lampposts placed less than 200 yards apart.

Drakeford said: “We know that 20mph zones reduce speed of traffic, reduce accidents – particularly accidents to children. We want to see that become the default position right across Wales.”

The Welsh Government made the plans official on Tuesday – and the changes to speed limits will come into effect in September 2023. The 20mph limits were given the go-ahead by 39 votes to 15.

Some exceptions will be made on certain roads in Wales – although these will be confirmed in due course.

However, for those that exceed the speed limit in these 20mph zones, they will be hit with a minimum fine of £100 and potentially three points on their licence. This could yet be updated ahead of the deadline next year.

The Welsh Conservatives have opposed the plans, stating that local councils should have influence over their own speed limits.

Shadow Transport Minister Natasha Ashgar said: “The Welsh Conservatives are not against introducing 20mph speed limits outside schools, playgrounds, places of worship and high streets, but a blanket roll-out is quite frankly ludicrous.'

“With a price tag of more than £32 million, is this really money well spent at a time when the Labour Government should be focused on tackling the big issues at hand such as the cost of living? I don't think it is, and I am sure residents across the country will be thinking the exact same.

“This is yet another diktat imposed by Labour from Cardiff Bay. Speed limits like this should be decided by councils in their local areas, not top-down by Labour ministers. Let's give local people the power over their communities, the very people who know their roads best.”

The changes will impact the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. Previously, it stated that it was illegal to exceed 30mph on a restricted road – this will now change to 20mph.

However, an ‘enforcement strategy’ is being discussed between the Welsh Government and police – and updated punishments for speeding could be announced before the end of the year.

All work involved in the law change is coming at the cost of the Welsh Government – although they have stated that the new speed limit cold result in £58m in savings over the next 30 years.

This is largely down to reduced emission and reducing the impact on health services.

According to police data, half of all road collisions happen on 30mph speed limit roads – and campaigners for the law change have argued that you are seven times more likely to be hit by a car going at 30mph rather than 20mph.

Campaigners and government officials also believe that the move will help with the UK Government’s plans for the nation to be ‘Net Zero’ by 2050.

With growing speculation that this change could be introduced across the UK – do you think it will be a good idea? Or will this cause more trouble on our roads? Leave your comment below.

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