In a bid to make Welsh road safer for pedestrians and cyclists, eight areas in Wales will trial a default 20mph speed limit this year, ahead of plans for a national roll out from April 2023.
Most of the trial areas are in south-east and south-west Wales, with one town in north-east Wales to take part. The pilot areas, which are intended to be a representative sample of different locations found across Wales, are:
- Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
- Central North, Cardiff
- Severnside, Monmouthshire
- Buckley, Flintshire
- Cilfriw Village, Neath Port Talbot
- St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire
- St Brides Major, Vale of Glamorgan
- Llanelli North, Carmarthenshire
The default speed limit in residential areas is currently 30mph and the Welsh Government said that Initial findings from a national public attitude survey have found support for the plans with 92% of those who wanted a change to the speed limit on their street suggesting a speed limit of 20mph or lower, and 77% wanting this speed limit to be applied throughout the area in which they live.
The change is "a bold step that will save lives", said Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport.
“We have made progress on reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads over the 21 years of devolution, but despite our considerable efforts the highest proportion of all casualties - 50% - occurred on 30mph roads during 2018.
"This cannot be tolerated, so a reduction to 20mph on our residential and other busy pedestrian urban roads has to be the way forward.
“Decreasing speeds reduces accidents and saves lives, and alongside this the quality of life will improve, making room on our streets for safer active travel.
"This helps reduce our environmental impact and has a positive outcome for our physical and mental wellbeing.”
"Decreasing speeds reduces accidents and saves lives, and alongside this the quality of life will improve, making room on our streets for safer active travel. This helps reduce our environmental impact and has a positive outcome for our physical and mental well-being."
What are the reasons for the change?
A Welsh Government-commissioned taskforce published a report in July 2020, which said there was "overwhelming evidence" that lower speeds result in fewer collisions and a reduced severity of injuries.
It said public opinion was likely to support the change and set out what ministers would need to do to enforce it.
The report called for a series of public awareness campaigns and said it was important the police and the speed camera partnership were committed to enforcing 20mph speed limits, "so that driver behaviour can begin to be changed".
The report also said it would be up to local authorities to identify roads that should not be subject to the 20mph limit.