20mph speed limit roads 'causing chaos' as drivers warn changes to spread across UK

In July, the Welsh Government confirmed it would be changing driving laws in August 2023 to make 20mph the default speed limit in built-up areas. The Welsh Senedd said this would help save lives, develop safer communities, improve the quality of life and encourage more people to make sustainable and active travel choices.

Currently, just 2.5 percent of Welsh roads have a speed limit of 20mph, but from next year this is expected to increase to approximately 35 percent.

The speed limit is not a blanket limit as local authorities will determine which roads should remain at 30 mph. 

Julie James, the Minister for Climate Change, said Wales was “leading the way for other UK nations to follow”.

Despite the optimism around the project, Monmouthshire Council confirmed this week that some stretches of 20mph road would be altered.

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“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. (sic)

“This is your warning Wales, this scheme is coming for you too.”

People are seven times more likely to survive if they are hit by a car driving at 20mph than if they are hit at 30mph.

According to a recent Express.co.uk survey of more than 6,100 readers, a vast majority – 76 percent – voted that residential roads should not be limited to 20mph.

Other towns and cities across the UK are starting to look into the viability of employing such 20mph schemes.

One Oxfordshire town is set to slash its speed limits soon, with Witney being the first place to take advantage of the County Council’s £8million programme to create safer, healthier and quieter streets.

Plans for dozens of 30mph roads in the town to have their speed limits reduced were approved and are set to be introduced in the future.

The county council has been inundated with requests from towns and villages to bring in 20mph zones since it launched the policy in February. 

The first two phases of the project are now fully booked, although communities can still apply to be part of the third delivery phase which takes place in 2024 and 2025.

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