Legislation to lower the default national speed limit on residential roads and busy pedestrian streets from 30mph to 20mph has been approved by the Senedd today.
Wales becomes the first UK nation to make the move – helping to save lives, develop safer communities, improve the quality of life and encourage more people to make more sustainable and active travel choices.
The new slower speed limits are currently being trialled in eight communities across Wales and will be rolled out nationally in September 2023.
The new legislation will not apply a blanket speed limit on all roads, it will simply make the default limit 20mph, leaving local authorities, who know their area best, to engage with the local community to decide which roads should remain at 30mph.
Currently, just 2.5% of Welsh roads have a speed limit of 20mph, but from next year this is expected to increase to approximately 35%, helping to create safer roads and communities across Wales.
Speaking after the vote, Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said:
“I am delighted that the move to 20mph has received cross-party support across the Welsh Parliament today.
“The evidence is clear, decreasing speeds not only reduces accidents and saves lives, but helps improve people’s quality of life – making our streets and communities a safer and more welcoming place for cyclists and pedestrians, whilst helping reduce our environmental impact.
“We know this move won’t be easy – it’s as much about changing hearts and minds as it is about enforcement – but over time 20mph will become the norm, just like the restrictions we’ve introduced before on carrier bag charges and organ donation.
“Once again Wales is leading the way for other UK nations to follow.”