Posted: Fri 11th Mar 2022

Buckley: Minister says 20mph speed limit on Liverpool Road “to be looked at again“

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Mar 11th, 2022

The Welsh government minister responsible for transport has said he is “willing to look again” at the 20mph speed limit implemented on Liverpool Road in Buckley.

There has been uproar in the town which is one of eight ‘pilots’ areas where 20mph is now the national default speed limit on residential roads and “busy pedestrian streets.”

New 20mph speed limits came into force on Monday, 28 February, in Buckley, Drury, Burntwood, Alltami, New Brighton, Mynydd Isa, and Bryn Baal.

Residents say they were not consulted properly on the move despite Flintshire council stating an “extensive period of informal consultations with the local communities as well as the undertaking of the required statutory consultation.”

The Welsh government has said making 20mph the default speed limit in residential areas across Wales will help to reduce accidents, and save lives.

But residents have said the wrong roads are being targeted such as Liverpool Road, the main road through Buckley linking it with Ewloe and the A494.

The largest 20mph pilot begins today in north Cardiff, ahead of that, results of a Welsh government consultation have revealed that over half of those responding said they were not in favour of a 20mph speed reduction.

Just over 6,000 responses were received – 47% were in favour of reducing the speed limit and 53% were against.

In a press release issued as part of the Cardiff roll out, deputy minister for climate change, with responsibility for transport, Lee Waters said: “As with any cultural change we know it takes time to win hearts and minds and inevitably we will face some challenges, but I am confident that if we all work together we can make the necessary changes that will benefit us now and in the future. ”

Asked specifically about Buckley and Liverpool Road on BBC Radio Wales this morning, Mr Waters said: “In the issue of Buckley, and in other areas, as I said at the beginning, we’ve changed the order of things.”

“We think 20 (mph) is a default, but you can make a case for 30 (mph).”

Every area in Wales, before this comes in later on next year, will have a chance to say, this road makes sense to be 20 (mph), but actually, this one should be an exception.”

“Mr Waters said: “There is a series of tests we will set for when you should make an exception, and that’s one of the things we’re trailing.”

“Now clearly we’re hearing very strongly in Buckley that they think Liverpool Road through the town should be a 30 (mph).”

The minister said he has been talking this week to Councillor Ian Roberts, the leader of Flintshire council, “who is saying to us, we’re not sure we got this right, would you be willing to look again at it.”

“I have written to him this morning to say we were willing to look again, in the case of Buckley at Liverpool Road and should that be outside of the consultation.” He said.

“That’s why we’re trialling it, we haven’t brought it in one big bang across Wales, we’ve picked eight areas where we’re going say we’ll experiment with different bits.”

“We’ll learn from it and we’ll use that learning to change the main rollout next year.” He added.

Mr Waters also revealed a fixed speed camera will also be used in Buckley, he said: “We’re going to be working with the police as part of these trials in looking at different ways of enforcing (the speed limit).

“Until now I think it’s fair to say the police haven’t really been prioritising it.”

“They are now willing to come along with us on this journey to say road safety and speeds are something we prepared to put some effort into.”

“So we’re trying different approaches, for example in Buckley we’re launching a scheme using a fixed speed camera.” He said.

County councillors from Buckley met with Senior Officers of Flintshire County Council on Thursday, they agreed to request that Welsh Government review the Exception criteria document related to the 20mph scheme in Buckley.

It is up to the local authority to identify which routes should be made exceptions to the default 20mph limit.

“It will not be appropriate to place a speed limit of 20mph on all existing 30mph roads. On well-engineered routes that are principal corridors for movement, where there is little frontage development or community activity and where pedestrians and cyclists do not need to mix with motor vehicles it will often be appropriate to retain the existing limit.” The Welsh government 20mph Task Force has said.

Cllr Richard Jones said: “Once that review has been completed a further re-consultation takes place in Buckley, so that residents concerns are listened to and taken into account.”

He said: “It must also be noted that this scheme is purely a Welsh Government initiative and that Buckley Councilllors attempts to include arterial/distributor roads within the scheme was not acceptable once the WG Exception Criteria was applied.”

“Buckley Councillors have made every effort to mitigate the effects of the present scheme but now look to Welsh Government to make the necessary changes.”

Cllr Jones said: “At the time when FCC Officers first brought this to our attention, and gave us the autonomy to identify exemptions to any scheme, we were happy to accept it.”

“Most people would understand the benefits of residential areas being 20mph, for many reasons from improvements to the safety around our homes to the reduction in residential traffic noise.” He said.

“On that basis the original scheme was good, but where it went pear-shaped, was when Welsh Government intervened and progressed their scheme to include all roads, overriding local exemptions.” He said

He said: “Of course it has resulted in the local outcry that has focussed minds and actions of the people of Buckley towards ‘getting this changed’.”

“We are quite an outspoken bunch in Buckley especially when provoked, and that is to our benefit.”

“If Welsh Government wanted to trial this scheme, to understand the feeling of local people, then I believe they have got their answer, this is our best chance making change to national policy and the minds of the members of the Senedd.”

“Remember this would have become law in Buckley in 2023, after a trial in another town in Wales, that perhaps wouldn’t have been so outspoken, we should applaud each other for fighting for the town and shaping our lives, we shouldn’t be blaming each other.”

“So, lets not get into a local blame game, but aim our emotions clearly where they need to be – at Welsh Government, that is the way to stop these policies in Buckley and in Wales.” Cllr Jones said:

 

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