Posted: Wed 29th May 2024

Mystery if Wrexham Council responded to Welsh Government on 20MPH review and why we were an outlier for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area

It is unclear if Wrexham Council have had their say into Welsh Government’s review into the new 20MPH policy.

The Welsh Government introduced a policy to set 20mph as the default speed limit for most urban roads in Wales, aiming to improve road safety and promote active travel.

A review has found the implementation has received ‘mixed’ feedback from various stakeholders, including the general public, local authorities, and specific sectors such as freight and emergency services.

There is a consensus that 20mph limits are appropriate for residential areas, but opinions vary for more significant routes.

Freight transport stakeholders express concerns about the economic impact, including potential inefficiencies and increased pollution from longer travel times. Emergency services have noted slight increases in response times, particularly in urban areas, though the overall effect is still being evaluated. Preliminary data show minimal differences in road traffic collisions since implementation, but longer-term trends need further study.

Comparing the Welsh approach with other UK and European cities, the report finds that Wales’ implementation aligns broadly with practices in cities like Edinburgh and Bristol, where main roads retain higher speed limits, and residential roads have lower limits. Current patterns in Welsh cities exhibit significant variation, with some areas having more extensive 20mph zones than others.

The report recommends that updated guidance should help highway authorities balance road safety and travel efficiency, using a systematic and auditable procedure to ensure consistency. Criteria for setting speed limits should consider both the benefits of higher speeds, such as reduced travel times and economic gains, and the disbenefits, including increased collision rates and pollution. Decisions should be tailored to local conditions, with possible physical adjustments to road environments to justify speed limit changes.

Other considerations for the guidance include minimum lengths for speed limits, buffer speed limits, and part-time limits around schools. Authorities should also address potential traffic rerouting and its impacts on the network. Overall, the report underscores the need for a nuanced and flexible approach to speed limit setting, informed by local circumstances and supported by clear, systematic guidance.

The review appears to have placed a large weight on questionaire responses, however they received just 27 responses to the questionnaire. 25 out of 27 responses were representing an organisation or a body.

14 responses were submitted by highway authorities, out of which 13 from Councils and one from NMWTRA. The remaining responses came from from GoSafe, Public Health Wales, Living Streets, RAC Foundation, RHA, ATCO, Cycling UK, CPT Cymru, Health Education and Improvement Wales, WAST, 20s Plenty for Us and two respondents in their individual capacity. asked the council on Friday morning if they had responded to the engagement exercise as it appears nine councils did not. We asked if Wrexham Council was one of the nine, why did they not respond.

Wrexham Council did not respond.

We also pointed to the report noting Wrexham as having just 1.5% of 30MPH zones retained, covering almost all its urban area. That is contrasted to Swansea where 10.5% of the former 30MPH network remained at that speed limit. We asked why Wrexham was an evident outlier compared to other councils in Wales.

Wrexham Council did not respond.

You can read the full report here from Welsh Government.

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