Police clamp down on drivers ahead 20mph speed limit rollout across Wales

Police are clamping down on drivers ahead of a national rollout of a 20mph speed limit across Wales' roads.

At roadsides across Wales, motorists caught exceeding the 20mph will be pulled over by officers and offered the opportunity to watch an "educational video" rather than face a fine of prosecution.

It is in effort to educate and prepare drivers for the rollout of 20mph speed limits across the country, the force said.

Officers stopped vehicles exceeding 20mph
  • When will the speed limit be introduced?

Wales will become the first UK nation to introduce a 20mph speed limit on 17 September.

There are similar speed limits in force in some European countries, such as Spain, where 30km/h (18.5mph) is already in place.

  • Where will the 20mph roads be?

It will be in place on what is called 'restricted' roads, which includes those where streetlights are placed no more than 200 yards apart and in residential and built-up areas with high pedestrian activity.

The policy aims to reduce the number of road traffic collisions, improve air quality and noise pollution, and encourage the shift away from car use.

  • Will this affect all roads that are currently 30mph?

These changes will affect most 30mph roads but not all. This legislation changes the default speed limited on restricted roads, which are generally residential or busy pedestrian streets with streetlights. 

But not all 30mph roads are restricted roads, and these remain at 30mph, and will be signed.

For restricted roads, local authorities and the 2 Trunk Road Agencies, can also make exceptions to the default speed limit in consultation with their communities.

Paul Bajjada was pulled over by the force in a pilot site in Caerwent and told ITV News he was "glad it's happened".

He added: "We know where we are now because some people say it's not applicable at the minute, but at least we know where we are now."

  • "You've got e-scooters that go faster than you"

A woman who was pulled over said she thinks lowering the speed limit to 20mph is causing "more frustration" for drivers.

"I don't think much of it at all", she said.

"This is causing more frustration with drivers, you get bikes that go faster than you, you've got E-scooters that go faster then you and as to say this road is a dangerous road, it's not - I've been driving along this road since 1996."

"It's causing more damages to people's cars my husband has got a garage and the amount of cars that are coming in now... because they're not getting enough running to clear the DPS, so it's causing more problems for the driver."

One man who was pulled over said: "I think in some cases, 20mph is not really necessary.

"I can understand where there's pedestrians about, schoolchildren that type of thing, but other than that, no."

He added: "I won't be happy about it (the roll out), but I'll have to go with it won't I.

"If it saves lives that's all well and good but I don't think it makes that much difference at 20mph, but that's my opinion."

The new limit comes into force on 17 September.

Superintendent Leanne Brustad said the aim of the scheme is to raise awareness of the change in legislation to prepare drivers for when it comes into place.

"They're stopping vehicles who are exceeding that speed limit, having a conversation with them, trying to raise awareness of the changes that are coming.

She added: "It is about raising awareness and making sure that those motorists understand the impact of their speed, the fact that if they're involved in a road traffic collision, they can either kill somebody or seriously injure them and certainly the statistics speak for themselves - approximately 20 people die a week in road traffic collisions in Wales, over half of those are in 30mph zones so it really is a safety issue.

"It's about saving lives and it's about making communities safer which we all want."

The move to lowering the default speed has been criticised by the Welsh Conservatives for costing the economy "£4.5bn". 

The party believes while 20mph may be appropriate for certain areas, "a blanket speed limit" approach is "anti-driver, anti-business and anti-growth".

Research conducted by the Transport Research Institute (TRI) at Edinburgh Napier University, in conjunction with Public Health Wales, estimates a new default 20mph speed limit on residential roads across Wales will save around £100 million in the first year alone.