20mph: “Reducing speeds not only saves lives, it helps build safer communities” – Mark Drakeford
Wales is on the brink of introducing a default 20mph speed limit on most residential roads, transitioning from the current 30mph.
This change, set to take effect on Sunday, September 17, will make Wales the first UK region to adopt such a measure.
First Minister Mark Drakeford is scheduled to visit St Brides Major in the Vale of Glamorgan today, like Buckley it is one of the initial trial sites for the 20mph limit.
During his visit, he will learn more about the impact of the “biggest step-change in community safety in a generation” and speak to local business owners, parents, and school children.
Among them are B&B owners Chris and Julie Davies, who have voiced their approval of the reduced speeds, noting the positive impact on the community.
Drakeford passionately advocates for the change, stating, “Reducing speeds not only saves lives, it helps build safer communities for everyone, including motorists.”
He emphasises the potential benefits, “It will help make our streets quieter, reducing noise pollution, and slower speeds will give more people the confidence to cycle and walk around their local areas and encourage children to play outdoors.”
Drawing from global data, Drakeford said, “reducing speed limits reduces collisions and saves lives.”
Wales’ approach mirrors Spain’s decision in 2019 to reduce the speed limit on most roads to 30km/h (18.6 miles per hour).
The results? A 20% drop in urban road deaths, with cyclist fatalities down by 34% and pedestrian deaths by 24%.
Research indicates that the 20mph limit could save the NHS approximately £92m annually by decreasing the number of road traffic injuries.
Over a decade, this could translate to 100 lives saved and 20,000 fewer casualties.
One of the campaigners for Safer St Brides, Nia Lloyd-Knott added:
“The rollout of 20mph in St Brides Major has been fantastic. As a village we campaigned for slower speeds for a long time, so we were delighted to be chosen as one of the early adopters of 20mph.”
“The village has a lot of families who are very keen walkers and cyclists, so the introduction of slower speeds has had a huge impact for the whole village, with many more parents feeling comfortable to let their children travel to the local school independently.”
The Welsh Government’s own figures suggest an implementation cost of the 20mph policy of £33m to cover publicity, new and replacement signage, and road marking alterations.
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