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Welsh government set to announce changes to 20mph limits | UK News

The Welsh government is set to announce changes to the default 20mph speed limit.

The default limit in Wales‘s built-up areas changed in September last year – a pledge that was part of the Labour party’s manifesto for the 2021 Senedd election.

The policy proved controversial after a call for the limit to be scrapped broke Senedd records for the most-signed petition on its website.

Former deputy climate change minister Lee Waters, who spearheaded the rollout, announced last month he would quit the role and delete his X account after receiving abuse.

And now, the newly-appointed transport secretary Ken Skates is expected to say his immediate priority on 20mph is to listen to the people of Wales.

‘Targeted change’

Mr Skates is expected to tell the Senedd in a speech that the government intends to work with councils across the country to deliver targeted change to the 20mph implementation.

The Welsh Conservatives – the largest opposition group in the Senedd – have said they believe the announcement is “another example of Labour ministers paying lip service”.

“Ministers might be making all of the right noises on 20mph, but if the cabinet secretary is serious about listening to the people of Wales, then he will accept that this law was a terrible mistake and repeal it,” added shadow transport secretary Natasha Asghar.

Ken Skates, Wales's transport secretary. File pic: Welsh government
Ken Skates, Wales’s transport secretary. File pic: Welsh government

Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth said he supported the “principle of widespread 20mph zones” but that it had been implemented “very poorly and inconsistently”.

“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,” he added.

Campaign group 20’s Plenty for Us said a review should aim to make guidance “clearer” rather than “diluting” it.

Read more:
Politicians receive ‘threatening messages’ over 20mph
‘Mind-boggling’ two-mile stretch with eight speed changes

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As recently as February, the Welsh government was saying that behaviour and attitudes towards 20mph were “beginning to change”.

Former first minister Mark Drakeford, who stepped down last month after five years, had said the reduced limits would “save lives”.

Yet his successor Vaughan Gething, as well as the other leadership contender Jeremy Miles, had both committed to a review.

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