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Welsh Government to ‘correct’ 20mph speed limit guidance – transport minister

Wales’s new transport minister has said the Government will “correct” its guidance around the introduction of 20mph speed limits in built-up areas.

In an interview with North Wales Live, Ken Skates said in many areas “routes that shouldn’t have been included, were”.

He said he wanted the speed limit decisions to be left to local communities, without the Government imposing them.

“These are: that there is generally universal support for 20mph being targeted in areas where there are schools, built-up areas like housing estates, and outside hospitals and so-forth, but in many areas routes that shouldn’t have been included, were.

“We’ve put our hands up to say ‘the guidance has to be corrected’.

“This will enable councils to revert back those routes that are not appropriate. Whether the change will be radical will largely depend on what people want.”

Mr Skates, who was appointed transport minister last month in new First Minister Vaughan Gething’s first Cabinet, said the Government will instead listen to communities and implement changes they want.

“I want communities to own speed-limit decisions rather than having them imposed upon them,” he said.

“That is why this national programme of listening is going to be so important. We want to ease out what it is that people in their communities actually want to see happen, then implement the change according to the citizens’ voice.

“I imagine in some parts of Wales we will see relatively few changes and in others we will see quite a lot more, but we won’t know the degree of the change until we have completed that exercise, listening to people and taking stock of the routes people would like to see return to 30mph.”

The policy was introduced in September last year under previous first minister Mark Drakeford, with the promise that lower speed limits would lead to fewer collisions and people injured.

It has seen fierce opposition from the Conservatives in the Senedd, who have branded it a “waste of time and resources”, and Mr Drakeford conceded more could have been done to “prepare the ground” for the policy, although he stood by it.

Plaid Cymru new leader
Rhun ap Iorwerth, leader of Plaid Cymru said the Government had implemented the policy ‘very poorly’.

“To support this, in the weeks ahead he will be engaging with elected representatives, businesses and communities across Wales.”

Mr Skates will address the issue in a statement on Tuesday.

Rhun ap Iorwerth, leader of Plaid Cymru said: “Over six months have passed since Plaid Cymru tabled a Senedd amendment, and won the vote, gaining a commitment from Welsh Government to review the impact of new limits and to empower local authorities to make further exemptions.

“I support the principle of widespread 20mph zones, but it’s clear that it was implemented very poorly and inconsistently, with too many roads changing to 20mph in places where it felt unreasonable.

“Welsh Government must push ahead now and sort it out, working with local authorities and communities to ensure that limits are properly reviewed, and unreasonable 20mphs are removed.”

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