Shropshire Star

Slow speed ahead for Welsh roads as new report finds 20 is plenty

The Welsh Government has released data highlighting the benefits of driving at 20mph, as the nation prepares to lower the default speed limit.

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

On September 17 the Welsh Government is set to introduce a default 20mph speed limit on restricted roads across Wales. Restricted roads include where street lights are placed no more than 200 yards apart and are usually located in residential and built-up areas with high pedestrian activity.

Slower driving speeds, increased levels of walking and cycling and minimal impact on journey times are among the key findings of a new report carried out in the eight ‘first phase’ areas of Wales trialling the new default 20mph speed limit.

The report, published on March 17, shows reducing the default speed limit from 30mph to 20mph, will see several benefits including a reduction in road collisions and serious injury, more people walking and cycling and improvements to health and wellbeing.

It also concluded that in areas where 20mph was introduced, there have been more children walking, cycling and scooting to school.

Using data from Living Streets’ Wow walk to school challenge, it reported that schools in 20mph areas have seen a greater increase in active travel journeys (49 per cent to 74 per cent), compared to schools predominantly in 30mph areas (49 per cent to 67 per cent).

Deputy Minister for Climate Change, with responsibility for transport, Lee Waters said: “This latest data is already showing the benefits we can expect to see across Wales thanks to the bold move we are taking to lower the default speed limits later this year.”

“Decisions like this can be unpopular and we know that change is never easy, however, evidence from around the world is clear – reducing speed limits save lives.

“We have made progress on reducing deaths and serious injuries on our roads over the 21 years of devolution, but we still need to do more to make the communities we work and live in safer.

“A reduction to 20mph on our residential and other busy pedestrian urban roads has to be the way forward.”