Shropshire Star

Public concerned over 20mph Welsh speed limit changes - politician

Huge numbers of people are concerned about the impact of the Welsh Government's decision to cut 30mph speed limits to 20mph, according to a Mid Wales politician.

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The default speed limit will change from 30 to 20 on Welsh roads.

The Welsh Government changes come into force on Sunday, and will see the majority of the country's 30mph speed limits reduced to 20mph.

Wales' First Minister, Mark Drakeford, said the speed limit reduction will protect lives and save the NHS in Wales £92 million a year.

The move has been opposed by the Welsh Conservatives, and Russell George, the Tory Welsh Parliament member for Montgomeryshire, said his own survey had highlighted people's worries about the move.

Russell George

He said 87 per cent of the people who responded said that they were concerned about the impact the change would have on their lives.

The survey also showed that 83 per cent of respondents felt that businesses and visitors would be affected, and that 88 per cent felt that each location for reductions should be assessed to decide the most appropriate restriction.

Mr George said that common concerns raised in the survey included the costs of the project, policing, and the impact on public transport like buses.

He added: "While in some areas a reduced speed limit is appropriate, and in many cases I have requested a change to 20mph myself, the blanket 20mph introduction is going to have a serious negative impact, particularly in rural areas.

"I firmly believe that the Welsh Government simply needed to make the process much easier for reducing speed limits in areas where there was concern, and where there was community support, rather than bringing forward a blanket policy.

"With a price tag of more than £32 million, this is not money well spent at a time when Government should be focused on tackling the big issues at hand such as the cost of living, Wales Air Ambulance and our NHS.

"The Welsh Government's own analysis also points to a potential £4.5bn hit to the Welsh economy.

“And while the Welsh Government may hope that a lower speed limit will encourage a change in behaviour and prompt people to cycle more or use public transport, there is little infrastructure in place to support such a change.

"My online survey has attracted a huge amount of interest from people who are overwhelmingly against the reductions. I hope that the Welsh Government listens to the views of people in Mid Wales on this issue who are so often forgotten in Cardiff Bay.”