Posted: Fri 25th Aug 2023

Firefighter warns 20mph speed limit could slow down response times for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Friday, Aug 25th, 2023

A Member of the Sennedd has raised concerns about the Welsh Government’s 20mph default speed limit and its potential effect on retained firefighters responding to call-outs. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The blanket limit, which will be introduced across Wales in mid-September, will see the majority of 30mph roads changed to a 20.

Locally just 5km of current 30mph roads could remain exempt from the new speed limit. Wrexham Council is currently running a consultation on the potential exemptions.

Locally 350 speed limit signs will need to be changed  and 100 signs will need removing – with the overall project in Wrexham set to cost around £400-500k.

As the September 17 speed limit changeover approaches, concerns are being raised on whether a blanket limit is necessary and the impact it could have on emergency services.

Welsh Conservatives Shadow Minister for Transport, Natasha Asghar MS, says conversations with one firefighter highlighted several potential issues crews across Wales could face next month.

A retained firefighter told Ms Asghar: ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

  • The 20mph default speed limit will delay firefighters getting to stations in their own vehicles.
  • Fire incidents will take longer to get to.
  • Labour has extended the distance of retained firefighters from 5 minutes travel to 10 minutes, with the new speed limit impacting journeys.

South Wales Police’s Assistant Chief Constable, Mark Travis, echoed these concerns. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

In a leaked letter, Assistant Chief Constable Travis noted that the 20mph restriction “affects how we… execute our primary duties.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

The fear is it might delay emergency responders attending incidents. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Natasha Asghar MS, said: “An email last week revealed the 20mph limit will hamper police responses.

“The evidence is clear. And now a firefighter confirms this will hinder them, risking lives.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“This isn’t about safety when it endangers people. Given the mounting concerns, Labour needs to pause the 20mph rollout.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

“Public safety must take precedence over political agendas.” ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

Earlier this week reported on concerns from local Plaid Cymru councillors, who have argued that the blanket limit is an “example of a top-down approach by this Welsh Government that doesn’t take into account local knowledge or opinions.”

Cllr Carrie Harper said: “There are key arterial routes through Wrexham – Mold Road, Chester Road, Holt Road and Cefn Road for example – as well as roads that link our villages that will become 20mph due to this blanket imposition.

“There are just nine stretches of roads – a total of three miles throughout the county – that will remain at 30mph if this goes through. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“It’s another example of a top-down approach by this Welsh Government that doesn’t take into account local knowledge or opinions.

“Local councils have generally gone with the blanket reduction and Wrexham Council is no exception.

“I think that is mainly because, when resources are spread so thinly, it’s easier to do. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“If the intention is to ensure people walk, cycle and use public transport to get around, then that would need a far greater emphasis on improving bus services as well as safer cycle routes. This is all about the stick and not about the carrot. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“The blanket introduction will cause problems and I have no doubt will need to be reviewed and undone.

“We’re calling on the Welsh Government to take their time to get this right first time rather than have to unravel the scheme.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

You can take part in Wrexham Council’s public consultation and view the related documents and notices on ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

If you would like to provide the feedback in writing stating the reasons for your views or objections, email [email protected] or by post to The Chief Officer Environment and Technical Department, Wrexham County Borough Council, Abbey Road South, Wrexham Industrial Estate, Wrexham LL13 9PW. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Documents are also open for public inspection at that address during ‘normal office hours’. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​ ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​


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