Posted: Wed 21st Feb 2024

Welsh Government reports 4mph drop in speeds after 20mph implementation for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Feb 21st, 2024

The deputy Welsh Government minister who oversaw the speed limit changes on roads across Wales has said “attitudes towards 20mph are beginning to change.”

Preliminary data released today shows that speeds have reduced by an average of 4mph on main roads since the national rollout of the default 20mph speed limit.

The data, which was collected by Transport for Wales, monitored millions of vehicles’ speeds in nine different communities across Wales before and after implementation.

It shows that since the new default speed limit was introduced in September 2023 the average speed on Wales roads dropped an average of 4mph – from 28.9mph to 24.8mph.

According to the Welsh Government research shows a “strong link between lowering speeds and decreasing the number of collisions and people injured.”

On urban roads with low average speeds, there is average six per cent reduction in collisions per 1mph reduction in average speed.

Deputy Minister for Climate Change, with responsibility for transport, Lee Waters said the data shows that average speeds are coming down on Wales’ roads.

Mr Waters said: “We also know from data published by Go Safe earlier this month that 97% of drivers are complying with the new slower speed limit – behaviours and attitudes towards 20mph are beginning to change.

“We’ve still got a way to go, but it’s encouraging to see that things are moving in the right direction.

“Every 1mph reduction in speed makes a real difference – so this is a real turning point.

“The international evidence is clear, lower speeds saves lives – that’s fewer collisions, fewer deaths and fewer severe injuries, reducing the devastation to individuals and their families and the significant impact on the NHS and other emergency services.”

Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters

Chief Executive of the road safety charity, Brake, Ross Moorlock added: “It’s encouraging to see how the new 20mph speed limit has reduced the overall speeds of these roads.

“Every day, five people die on UK roads and speed is a factor in every crash. The faster we drive, the greater our risk of crashing, and the harder we hit if we do crash.

“We know that road crashes have a devastating impact on families and communities. Sadly, we see this first-hand every day through the work of our National Road Victim Service, which last year supported more than 1,500 families who have been bereaved by a road crash or suffered catastrophic, life-changing injuries.

“We hope that governments and local authorities across the UK will take Wales’ lead and adopt 20mph as the default speed on roads where people and vehicles mix.”

The introduction of the 20mph speed limit in September 2023 has not been without its faults.

petition calling for the 20mph limit to be revoked has gained over 468,000 signatures since its launch six months ago.

New 20mph speed signs have been damaged and defaced and locally Wrexham Council has faced calls to reconsider introducing a 30mph limit on several main roads in the county borough.

In January Mr Waters confirmed that councils across Wales will have the chance to ‘draw up a list of roads” that they believe should revert back to 30mph.

Alongside the publication of the national data, today the initial report by the independent Review Team, which is looking into the setting of exceptions to the default 20mph limit, has been published.

The report sets out a series of early findings and initial recommendations.

Speaking about the work of the independent review team, WLGA Chief Executive, Andrew Morgan said: “Council leaders welcome the review of the implementation and the current guidance to help them make the right choices for their communities.

“Councils want to engage with the review to ensure we have the right speeds on the right streets.

“Whilst there appears to be some roads where the speed limit isn’t right and there is a need for local authority review, we have heard from some councils that positive differences have been seen in the speed and safety of their streets, particularly amongst vulnerable people.”

However the Welsh Conservatives have argued that today’s stats “prove what a monumental waste of time and resources from the Labour Government the 20mph limit has been.”

Natasha Asghar MS, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Transport said: “To sacrifice billions of pounds from the Welsh economy all for the sake of 4mph may satisfy Labour, but it is not a trade the Welsh Conservatives would be willing to make.

“On day one of a Welsh Conservative Government, this barmy policy would be scrapped, and common sense would prevail.”

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