New driving law may see speed limits dramatically changed in this one area in world first
New speed limits could be put into place across urban areas by April 2023 to become the first country in the world to reduce limits in built up areas to 20mph. The Welsh 20mph Task Force Group has concluded in its final report that Welsh ministers should begin putting the legislation in place to introduce the scheme “as quickly as possible”.
- Speed limits may rise by 10mph on motorways
They say a plenary vote should take place in July before legislation is formally completed in the Senedd by October 2021.
This would allow enough time to put the scheme into place across the country as early as April 2023.
They have also pushed for the Welsh Government to work with the Department for Transport to amend UK policies and guidance before the new limit is introduced.
In May 2019, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced it was to become government policy to set a national 20mph limit for urban and village streets.
Many countries already run a 20mph speed limit in areas but this is set by local authorities rather than a national approach.
The 20mph Task Force says other govenerts are now likely to use the Welsh experience as a template for widespread change. .
Rod King MBE, Founder and Campaign director of the 20s Plenty group saud the policy aligns with practices endorsed by 130 nations who could soon take on a similar approach.
He said: “The aspiration in Wales for a national default 20mph limit reflects some of the key values within Welsh communities and Government around future generations, active travel, environment, transport, public health and equality.
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“It also aligns with global best practice that 130 nations have endorsed at the recent 3rd Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety.
“We are impressed at how stakeholders and government, both local and national, have worked together in developing such a detailed, practical and insightful report that shows how this important initiative can be delivered.
“Members of Senedd now have the opportunity to demonstrate how strong values, cross-party support and focused and inclusive planning can deliver a better public spaces for all Welsh communities.”
The Task Force have suggested the scheme could be enforced through a mix of fixed and mobile speed cameras.
- Urban roads with 20mph speed limits are MORE dangerous than motorways
They say speed camera schemes can be “easily expanded” to consider the 20mph speed when it is introduced.
The Task Force have also highlighted the possible health benefits with a major emphasis on the reduction of fatal or serious injuries.
Analysis of other local area speed reductions has found evidence that the scheme contributes to dramatically safer streets for residents.
Bristol’s localised 20mph speed limit revealed a reduction of four fatal accidents and 11 serious collisions each year
However, deeper analysis revealed a slight drop in speeds across nearby 30mph speed limit roads which has led to an average fatality reduction of 63 percent.
If someone is hit at just 20mph their chances of survival increase by up to 97 percent.
Living Streets Cymru,a member of the Task Force Group, says the scheme will be “life changing” as it will ensure pedestrians “feel safer”.
Rhiannon Hardiman, Manger for Living Streets Cymru says it was ”more important than ever” that the streets are safe to support mental and physical wellbeing.
She said: “We’re very happy to see these proposals to reduce speed limits on urban streets in Wales. It’s more important than ever that we have safer streets and spaces for walking to support people’s physical and mental health.
“These are life-changing developments from Welsh Government because slower speeds will improve the places where we live, work and go to school. It will encourage more of us to walk and cycle – and feel safer doing so.
“We look forward to working with Welsh Government to support this legislation and make our streets and pavements safe and accessible for everyone.”
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