Posted: Mon 4th Mar 2024

Minister behind 20mph roll out in Wales to leave role this month

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

The politician who spearheaded the 20mph speed limit rollout in Wales is set to leave his role this month.

Lee Waters MS, Deputy Climate Change Minister, announced on social media his plan to step down in two weeks with the arrival of the new First Minister of Wales.

He also intends to close his X (formerly Twitter) account due to a ‘pile of malign’ comments he has received.

In a post on X, he stated, “Over the last 15 years I’ve spent far too much time on Twitter. It stopped being fun a while ago but I now get a pile of malign comments for even the most innocuous posts. When I leave my transport role in a fortnight, I’ll be deleting my account. Elon can shove it up his X.”

Mr Waters’ term has been marked by controversy, particularly due to the new 20mph speed limit across Wales and the cancelling of major road-building schemes like the A494 Flintshire Red Route aimed at easing congestion.

His broad range of responsibilities with the Welsh government includes climate change initiatives, setting emission reduction targets, and carbon budgets to mitigate environmental impacts.

His portfolio extends to the much-criticised Transport for Wales train services and the management of the Wales and Borders franchise, crucial for regional connectivity.

Speaking to Deeside.com last summer about the 20mph pilot scheme in Buckley, Mr Waters said it was a mistake to impose a blanket 20mph speed limit change to all roads in the town. and the surrounding area.

The ‘trial’ sparked a fierce backlash in Buckley, with residents arguing that it has led to road rage incidents, as well as an increase in pollution and fuel costs.

He said, “Buckley was one of eight pilots. The whole purpose of a pilot is to test things and learn from them.”

“With Buckley, the decision was made not to have any of what we call ‘exceptions.’ So, the 20mph speed limit was applied to the whole area, rather than only some parts.”

“Now, I think that was a mistake. In a sense, it worked because we applied that approach, and that approach didn’t work.”

In September 2023, Mr Waters faced a vote of no confidence in the Senedd, initiated by the Welsh Conservatives.

Welsh Tory leader Andrew RT Davies MS responded to Mr Waters’ announcement, stating, “Motorists and business owners across Wales will breathe a sigh of relief at this news.”

“The Deputy Minister’s time in post has been characterised by one anti-motorist policy after another, slowing Wales down and doing serious damage to our economy.”

“It’s time to scrap the road-building ban, scrap the 20mph speed limit, and implement a transport policy that gets Wales moving.”

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