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20 MPH speed restrictions for Wales

There are mixed feelings across Wales concerning the new 20MPH speed limits which will be introduced after Senedd members have voted 39 in favour and 15 against. The Welsh government has claimed that reducing the speed limit to 20 MPH will have several benefits, including:

  • reducing road collisions
  • more opportunities to walk and cycle in our communities
  • helping to improve our health and wellbeing
  • making our streets safer; and
  • safeguarding the environment for future generations.

Information video from the Welsh government

Across Wales is a mixed reaction that can be seen in different social medias. A petition has been shared around different social medias, gaining support from mainly far-right groups or the gammons. The gammons are becoming roasted gammon, going into meltdown not because of the heatwave but because the Welsh government are daring to impose road safety measures. As per usual, they have no valid reason as to why they do not support this and rely on falsehoods.

Of course, the far-right are using this to attack the Welsh government and are pedalling mistruths (as is the norm in such circles). An example of such misinformation can be seen from the recent petition circulating (below).

Recent petition circulating:

A petition has been circulating online (predominantly in groups considered to be the far-right) hence the unfounded and baseless attacks against the Welsh government. As is the norm with the majority of the far-right, they rely on fallacies and misinformation, examples of which can be seen in the petition below.

The text of the petition is in black, comments taken from our social network are in red text below.

Many of these roads aren’t suitable for a 20mph speed limit. They are busy access roads on steep hills. The lorries are struggling to get up the hills in such a low gear lorries struggle uphill at 20mph, yet are perfectly fine at 30mph and sticking to such a low speed downhill is hard on the brakes brakes should not be used to control downhill speed. This is doing nothing to reduce emissions this is incorrect as science, scientific data showing otherwise, instead there will be more pollution from more cars struggling in a lower gear for a longer time incorrect again as  it’s disregarding scientific research and fact and claiming otherwise to suit petition

Despite the Welsh Government having spent nearly £30,000 on signage alone, these signs have not been thought through, there are completely unnecessary signs at the start of 50m long, single track, unadopted and untarmaced roads that you physically couldn’t drive down over 10mph, and yet there is completely inadequate signage at the start and finish point on the previously 30mph main roads – people are confused and are spending so much time looking at their speedometers that it is actually a cause of dangerous driving! This is a baseless opinion not substantiated with any fact. 

It has caused bus delays; making environmental commuting more inefficient than it was before. It is also going to affect property values on specific routes and traffic to be diverted into more residential areas to bypass this limit. Seriously, can the petitioner really predict the future?

There have not been high occurrence rates of road traffic accidents, deaths or injuries on roads in and around Buckley that require a change to our regular 30mph limit on these roads. So how many deaths are needed? Point being the petition ststes there is not enough deaths to warrant a lower speed limit!!!!  It’s entirely unjustified and was not supported by the community making it a non-democratic change.  Incorrect, some people support this, other people do not support this. Implying nobody supports it for the sake of the petition calls into question the integrity of the petition (as does the total disregard of factual scientific research) The community already support the 20mph zones outside schools and other significant areas and would fully support keeping these in place.

Flintshire residents were not part of the closed Welsh Government survey, and we feel the questions asked were completely misleading. We all agree slower driving is appropriate in specific areas (schools, hospitals, around shops) but nobody supports a blanket 20mph zone across all our roads.  Does the petitioner really believe that they are the voice of all the people? Stating “we all agree” implies the petitioner believes they are the voice of all. 

It doesn’t make any sense again, disregarding scientific research and data and is leading to significant inconvenience, distress, and dangerous road conditions if you are really distressed at driving 10mph less in order to save lives, then numerous suggestions were made that you should go seek advice from a GP. We ask that more research is conducted why, when you have already ignored scientific research and attempted to present opposite non scientific views and pass them off as fact in petition?  and a wider survey completed with more appropriate questions prior to this pilot taking place in Buckley. No research indicates that a 20mph limit will reduce accidents in Wales. Apart from the fact that there is a plethora of research showing that a 20mph limit across Wales will reduce accidents and deaths. 

As you’ll know, setting speed limits should be “evidence-led and self-explaining”, according to the Department for Transport. 20MPH limit is both evidence-led and self explaining  Speed limits “should also be seen by drivers as the maximum speed rather than as a target speed at which to drive irrespective of conditions”. The evidence used in the Welsh 20mph Task Force Group Final Report appears to be based mostly on dangerously out of date research and statistics. Using a reference from 1991 to back up this statement “Child pedestrian deaths in deprived neighbourhoods are over four times those in affluent neighbourhoods.” is appallingly bad practice. If the information is older than 5 years it’s no longer current or relevant and new research studies should have been completed prior to the scheme being considered. Basic laws of physics do not change. Both research and common sense would dictate that a 20MPH speed limit is a lot safer than 30MPH.
The petitioner states that new research studies should be completed but has ignored all research studies, ignored all scientific data and presented an opposite opinion in an attempt to pass the opposite opinion off as being factual. 

According to national statistics, there is one death per 20,000 cars on the road, making the UK’s road safety rating one of the highest in the world. Therefore, it is shocking that the Welsh Government would be so out of date that it would bring in a limit that was last seen in Law in 1903 (Motor Car Act).
Assuming the petitioner is one of the minority of Welsh conservative supporters who nitpick and target the Welsh government with falsehoods (such as the falsehoods presented in the petition)

This law was scrapped when cars were made more safely with the current 30mph limit taking effect in 1934. Buckley is not alone in not wanting the 20mph limit. Motoring organisations the RAC and the AA have expressed support for 20mph limits outside schools, but completely oppose a blanket change from 30 to 20 based on their own research. Improved road engineering, better cars and better brakes have brought about a significant decrease in deaths since 1934.  These improvements have decreased accidents, not speed limits. The speed limit change in Buckley has caused more accidents in the 3 days it has been live than we would usually see in a year, including a child being hit on Bryn Road, now a 20mph.

People are now spending more time looking at their speedometers than they are on the road ahead.  Clearly an opinion to suit petitioners agenda. 

This scheme is entirely counterproductive. Apart from the fact that it will save lives, cause less accidents, cause less pollution and particle pollution as shown by scientific research. 

The only road in Buckley to have a RTA resulting in a fatality in the last 10 years is one of only 3 roads to have had the speed limit left at 30mph.

We also feel this change is unlawful. Section 82(1)(a) (of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (RTRA 1984)) defines a restricted road in England and Wales as a road which is provided with “a system of street lighting furnished by means of lamps placed not more than 200 yards apart”. Section 81 specifically makes it an offence for a person to drive a motor vehicle at a speed of more than 30 mph on a restricted road. Therefore, whilst Wales are now able to set speed limits, what law change has taken place to make this 20mph zone legally enforceable in courts? Legislation makes this legally enforceable in courts. 

The signage is also not clear and given this is a brand new change, we would expect forbearance for a period of 6-12 months for residents to get used to a whole new way of driving. Arguably, if people need 6 months to a year to learn how to drive 10MPH less than normal then should they be on the road in the first place?

Especially as we live on the border of England where more sensible road speed limits currently apply meaning residents may be even more confused. Hardly confusing, there are different speed limits everywhere. Furthermore, England is also adopting the 20MPH approach with more and more roads being destined for the new lower limit. 

One of the biggest issues we have had with the scheme in Buckley is that Phase 2 was also not consulted on. Flintshire County Council pushed it through, opening the consultation period on the 17th December and closing it on the 7th January WITHOUT TELLING ANYONE. Again, incorrect. Consultation for the public was provided.

The county councillors didn’t know. The town councillors didn’t know. Because no one knew, no one could object. Again, incorrect. The consultations were public and invited comments from the public. 

Therefore the main access roads, through roads and main commuter routes were all lowered to 20mph AGAINST the wishes of the town council. People were also voting in favour of improved links between the primary schools and cycle paths to allow more children to be able to walk and cycle to school safely, thus also reducing congestion and emissions – this has not happened at all. Yet the Welsh Government are hell bent on “inviting the community into the roadspace” a line which no one has been able to give an explanation to as yet. The community has the pavements. The road users should have the roadspace!
Absolute nonsense. Here, the petitioner states that another reason to not lower the speed limit is because people have pavements and road users have roads.

We are also looking to seek legal support on the enforceability of this limit given it’s not UK Law but Devolved law. For a town on the Wales/England border, this is very confusing and dangerous.  Point being it is in WALES so therefore devolved legislation. If as the petitioner states that a Welsh town on the border of England is confusing and dangerous because of a lower speed limit, then such people how find a change in speed limit confusing and dangerous should ideally not be allowed on the road!

Finally, the people of Buckley are absolutely disgusted with their MS, Jack Sargeant’s, repeated attempts to abdicate from responsibility of this scheme. This is a Welsh Government scheme, Jack is our elected Member of the Senedd, elected to represent the people of Buckley and to be their voice to feed back to the Welsh Government on issues that affect them. His copy-pasted responses denying any responsibility and offering no help or support to his electorate have been brief and disappointing. The people of Buckley already feel deeply let down by the Welsh Government in all it’s guises, we have seen no financial investment to the town centre, no youth services and despite all the lip service and fanfare, still no mobile bank.  So the petitioner is “disgusted” that their MS does not pander to their falsehoods as presented in this petition. Perhaps the reason why Jack Sargeant offers no help in this regard is that the MAJORITY of people in Wales welcome the 20MPH limit due to its associated benefits. An independent survey was also completed for the entire UK which saw approx 80% of people in favour of 20MPH limits replacing 30MPH.

A poll was conducted in the Facebook group over the first 3 days after the scheme went live. The results were 70% of respondents were in favour of returning the 30mph speed limit to the main access roads in and out of Buckley and the surrounding areas, such as Mold Road, Liverpool Road, Church Road and Bannel Lane and keeping the 20mph limit only outside schools and in heavily built up residential estates such as St. Matthew’s Park. 10% of people want the 20mph to stay outside schools only and almost 20% of people wanted to scrap the scheme entirely. Just two people, in a town of 21,000, were in favour of the scheme as it stands.  The facebook group is setup for people against the reduction of speed limits, therefore any poll setup there is by default invalid and non representative. 

Calling it a “pilot scheme” is truly insulting when the government has said “20mph is a legislative change across the nation” coming into force 2023. A Pilot is done as an experiment or test, evaluating the results before making plans to implement more widely.
Which is precisely what the Welsh government are doing in their pilot scheme!!!!  

They made plans to implement it nationwide before the pilot was even in place.
Petitioner states earlier they were not made aware of the pilot, now states otherwise? 

UPDATE 16/07/2022

A new petition has been made, again flawed. Details highlighted in red below:

Hold a public poll on the reduction of the default speed limit BEFORE it comes in to force

I think that the Welsh Government must hold a public poll on this change as it will affect everyone! There is no proven evidence that it will save lives or reduce pollution. Incorrect, there is an abundance of scientific data and evidence WORLDWIDE showing that a 20MPH limit decreased the likelihood of fatal accidents and decreased pollution and particle emissions. There is evidence to support it increasing the amount of emissions being put into the air as cars are not designed to be driven at this speed! Again, there is scientific evidence worldwide showing this element of the petition (as other elements) are incorrect. Motorists are always being targeted and it’s about time pedestrians are hit with some accountability! People in Wales are living in a democracy, hold a public poll on this proposal

They have already surveyed a large group on this and the majority voted against it!  Unsure what poll the petitioner refers to, however, other polls show that nearly 80% of people are in favour of the new lower limits. 
Their only evidence is theory and hearsay. Again incorrect, there is an abundance of scientific studies and evidence worldwide. They have absolutely no proof to support their claims that 20mph will save lives. Again incorrect, the proof comes from basic physics and data sets. Research worldwide has shown that the lower limit saves lives. What it will do is force cars to stop start more and ultimately build up emissions in a concentrated area. Again incorrect, research has shown otherwise, 20 is steady whilst 30 causes more acceleration and braking. I can only imagine we are in agreement that you can only imagine, given the fact that you have ignored all facts and scientific research and just imagined some opinions to be fact! they based this false evidence on their motorway report on reducing to 50mph – IT DOES NOT WORK!!!!!
The Welsh Government should be doing more to educate pedestrians to cross only at designated crossings and put up barriers along the edge pavements to prevent them from walking out into the road anywhere they want!
Us motorists are getting more and more frustrated at being easy prey. As for cyclists, with this rule in place they will be riding faster than cars. I have seen this already in the trial areas.
Give us a say on this immediately!

So yet another petition that attempts to pass off fiction or flawed opinion as fact! Nothing in this or the earlier petition provides any valid reason to not be in favour of the new lower restriction. 

TLDR: Petition against 20MPH speed limit in Wales has no facts, only opinions which are passed off as being facts. The petition also contains many inaccuracies as well as several inaccurate claims.
TLDRDR: Petition against 20MPH speed limit has no valid reason as to why they are against a reduced speed limit.
TLDRDRDR: Blanket 20MPH in Wales soon.

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