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Tuesday, July 18, 2023

llanblogger looks into enforcement of new 20mph speed limit

llanblogger special report

* The 20mph speed limit will soon be imposed on roads across Wales.

The new 20mph speed limit on roads across Wales currently 30mph is now just weeks away from being applied but a question hangs over how the new reduced limit will be enforced in this area.

A briefing paper sent out by their officers to county councillors in Denbighshire says they believe Go Safe – the agency which enforces speed limits on behalf of North Wales Police – has no current plans to increase its resources.

And a Llangollen county councillor agrees that the ability to police to the 20 limit is “questionable”.

The Welsh Government in association with the county council and the North and Mid-Wales Trunk Road Agent recently held a number of consultation sessions to brief the public about the change from 30 to 20mph at which they sought feedback from those who attended.

Llanblogger went along to one of two sessions at the Town Hall last week specifically to pose the question of local enforcement.

Concerned, like a number of other residents, about the routine flouting of the 30mph limit outside homes and businesses along Regent Street (A5), llanblogger posed the question: if the present 30mph is not adequately policed on this stretch what hope is there that a 20mph limit can be enforced?

A Welsh Government official was unable to give a definitive answer and asked llanblogger to fill in a reply slip with my query which he said would be passed on to the appropriate place, which was done.

The councillors’ briefing document says of enforcement: “There will be no changes in regard to responsibility for speed enforcement following the introduction of the default 20 mph speed limit.

“In other words, Go Safe and North Wales Police will continue to have responsibility for speed enforcement.

“Our understanding is that there are no current plans for Go Safe to increase their enforcement resources such as camera vans, as a result of the 20 mph introduction.

“So, enforcement will continue to be prioritised for those locations where risk is considered to be highest i.e. locations where there is already a history of speed-related collisions, or locations where there aren’t any collisions but vehicle speeds significantly exceed the posted speed limit.”

There have indeed been no speed-related collisions on the Regent Street stretch of the A5 in recent years but llanblogger suggests this is a matter of luck rather than any noticeable enforcement at all of the current 30mph speed limit.

Llangollen county councillor Karen Edwards, who allowed llanblogger to have sight of the Denbighshire briefing document said: “It appears that no new extra resources will be available to enforce the new 20mph limit, not just on the A5 in Regent Street but elsewhere in the county.”

What the briefing document says generally about the new limit:

"The default speed limit in towns, villages and cities is currently 30 mph. On the 17th September 2023, this default speed limit will change across the whole of Wales from 30 mph to 20mph.

This change to the default speed limit is happening because the Welsh Government (WG) are changing the legislation that relates to speed limits in Wales. They are making this change for the purposes of making roads safer; to encourage more walking and cycling; and to make neighbourhoods more pleasant places in which to live.

This change will affect roads in cities, towns and villages which have street lighting and which are currently 30 mph. In other words, this will apply to the vast majority of the roads in our towns, cities and villages. However, speed limits outside of these areas will remain the same as they are now. In other words, if the speed limit on a road is currently set at 40 mph, then it will stay as 40 mph.

It also will not change our existing 20 mph speed limits. In other words, this isn’t an initiative to make all speed limits 10 mph less than they are at present.

As well as the Traffic Order related work, there is a significant amount of work currently being undertaken to make changes to existing speed limit signs and related road markings. For example, most of the existing speed limit signs at the entrance points to our towns and villages will need to be replaced by signs saying “20”. This equates to approximately 500 signs in 250 locations. This work has been split into three separate contracts for local contractors.

The approach that Denbighshire and other Welsh Councils are taking is to replace our existing 30 mph signs with signs that say “20” but have a temporary vinyl sticker with the number “3” over the number “2”. These temporary vinyl stickers can then be quickly removed once the default 20 mph speed limit comes into force on the 17th September.

All costs associated with the 20 mph speed limit, including officer time, signage and road marking work, legal orders and advertising are being fully-funded by a grant from the Welsh Government."

* The council website has been updated to provide a page about the 20 mph speed limit. Here is a link to the webpage:

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