Wales 20mph speed limit: More than 38,000 people sign petition opposing Welsh Government plans

The Welsh Government plans to reduce 30mph speed limits to 20mph on resident streets across Wales. Credit: PA images

Almost 39,000 people have signed an online petition opposing Welsh Government plans to reduce 30mph speed limits to 20mph on resident streets across Wales.

The new law is expected to come into force from September 17, 2023.

Wales is the first UK nation to make the move and the government claims it would help to save lives, develop safer communities, improve the quality of life and encourage more people to make more sustainable and active travel choices.

Eight pilot areas have been chosen to train the reduced speed limits to date, including Buckley in Flintshire.

While Wales is the first UK nation to implement the speed change, the Scottish government could follow.

Adie Drury, a resident in Buckley, who started the petition, said: "It is causing chaos, people avoiding the area and people having to take new routes.

“Many of these roads aren't suitable for a 20mph speed limit. They are busy access roads on steep hills.

"Lorries are struggling to get up the hills in such a low gear and sticking to such a low speed downhill is hard on the brakes.

"This is doing nothing to reduce emissions, instead there will be more pollution from more cars struggling in a lower gear for a longer time.

“It has caused bus delays, making environmental commuting more inefficient than it was before.”

The new legislation will not apply a blanket speed limit on all roads. It will instead make the default limit 20mph, leaving local councils to discuss with their local communities which roads should remain at 30mph.

The government estimates that the new legislation will cost around £33 million. However, it claims this will be offset by a saving of £58m in reduced use of emergency services and hospital admissions over the next 30 years.

Earlier this year, the Welsh Government published results of its Public Attitude Survey towards speed limits on Welsh roads.

It showed that most Welsh adults (61%) were content with the current speed limit for their street, while around a third (34%) were not.

Their survey also indicated that four in five Welsh adults (80%) said they would support a speed limit of 20 mph in the area they live, compared to one in five (20%) who would not.

Currently, just 2.5% of Welsh roads have a speed limit of 20mph. From next year this is expected to increase to 35%.