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Wales gets green light for 20mph default speed limit

Wales has become the first UK nation to introduce a 20mph default speed limit.

The legislation was passed in a vote at the Senedd earlier this week. It doesn’t mean a blanket 20mph limit on all roads. Councils will consult local communities to decide what roads should keep their 30mph limit.

The Welsh Government said that 2.5% of roads in Wales have a 20mph limit. It expects this to rise to 35% when the default limit is introduced in September 2023.

The change is being brought in to save lives, make communities safer and encourage more people to make sustainable travel choices.

Julie James, minister for climate change, said: “The evidence is clear, decreasing speeds not only reduces accidents and saves lives, but helps improve people’s quality of life – making our streets and communities a safer and more welcoming place for cyclists and pedestrians, whilst helping reduce our environmental impact.

“We know this move won’t be easy – it’s as much about changing hearts and minds as it is about enforcement – but over time 20mph will become the norm, just like the restrictions we’ve introduced before on carrier bag charges and organ donation.

“Once again Wales is leading the way for other UK nations to follow.”

Natasha Ashgar MS, Welsh shadow minister for transport,  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.

“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.”

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Wales gets green light for 20mph default speed limit

A vandalised bus stop
Henllys Way in Cwmbran.