Plans to introduce 20mph limit in west Wales met with criticism

A recent research poll by TIDA (The International Drivers Association) revealed that the West Wales area has one of the highest number of speeding offenses in the UK, based on the number of speeding offenses across the country. They found that the Dyfed-Powys Police force area – covering Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire – came in as the fifth highest.

To counter this, the Welsh Government will be introducing a default 20mph speed limit on many restricted street lit roads in September 2023.

The proposed site map is available on the Carmarthen County Council website, where locals are encouraged to give their say on the plans. They are tentatively to begin in September if all goes ahead, then removing the current 30mph on roads across Wales. Carmarthenshire, and more specifically Carmarthen, is the area in West Wales most affected by the changes. 

Thomas Jones, who has lived in Carmarthen for over 40 years said: “What I found by sticking to 20, I’m constantly watching the speedometer, which makes it difficult to pay attention to the actual roads. It doesn’t make much sense, and I really don’t understand, especially as Carmarthen isn’t the busiest.”

Speaking to the South Wales Guardian, Councillor Edward Thomas, cabinet member for transport, waste and infrastructure services for Carmarthenshire County Council, said: “We, as a local authority, are implementing the Welsh Government’s legislation to set a speed limit of 20mph on most of our restricted roads.”

“The change in legislation will require a fundamental change in driver behaviour to achieve its goals and we will be working closely with the Welsh Government to educate the public of the changes that are afoot.”

Wales will be the first nation in the UK – and one of the first countries in the world – to introduce the legislation. The recent RAC study found that 48 percent of drivers questioned said they had exceeded the speed limit on such roads at least once in the past year.

“The key aim of the 20mph speed limit is to improve road safety, particularly for vulnerable road users, and encourage more walking and cycling.”

On the Welsh Government website, the aims of the project were further outlined, answering a number of much-asked questions. The proposal aims to “bring mental and physical health benefits”, “make Wales more attractive”, “reduce noise pollution, promote cleaner air” and “make streets safer for playing, walking and cycling.”

Councillor Edward Thomas responded to our request for comment, saying: “The 20mph speed reduction which is due to be implemented September 23 is going to see change for all drivers in Wales.”

“Wales, I believe, will be the first country in the UK to introduce these kinds of measures, and one of the first in the world. They are designed to save lives and reduce the risk and severity of injuries . It is part of the Welsh Government’s plan to get more to use public transport, and to encourage cycling and walking – especially for short journeys.”

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