Enforcement of 20mph law set to begin, says Lee Waters

On Thursday Lee Waters told the Senedd's climate change committee that enforcement will now begin.

The "grace period" for people breaking the new 20mph speed limit is coming to an end, the deputy minister in charge of the rollout has said.

The law came into force in Wales on September 17 and has since proved controversial with a poll for ITV Wales revealing that just 33% of people support the policy, while 61% are opposed to it.

A petition calling for the Welsh Government to cancel the 20mph law has also become by far the most signed in the history of the Welsh Parliament.

On Thursday Lee Waters told the Senedd's climate change committee that enforcement will now begin.

"The evidence is people are adapting their behaviour." Mr Waters said.

"What we don't want is to go in feet-first and create conflict. We want human relations to work out for people to adjust but we're reaching the stage where enforcement will begin."

He aded: "We've given a grace period but we will now start to enforce. We'll do it in the way we enforce other speed limits – by exceptions."

When asked what the timeline was, Mr Waters said the "ugain" [20 in Welsh] campaign had started.

Kaarina Ruta, transport assistant and lead on 20mph from the Welsh Local Government Association, said that was in the form of the roadside campaign between GoSafe, police, and fire services which offers drivers the chance to watch a presentation at the roadside "there and then".

Mr Waters said research had shown the Welsh Government there were three groups: one who are called "champions" who will follow the 20mph law "come what may"; another who "did not want to comply...we saw this in the Covid regulations and there's not much to "influence" them except enforcement; and a middle group "who are the ones we're really trying to influence who will adjust their behaviour if others do so."

  • So what will change?

Whilst drivers were first getting used to the rules change, in some instances, fire service staff and GoSafe staff showed speeding drivers an educational video on the dangers of driving above 20mph.

However, once the "grace period" has come to an end, drivers caught speeding could be fined.

How much could I be fined?

At the moment the minimum penalty for speeding is £100 and three points on your license.

If you accumulate 12 points on your licence you will be disqualified from driving for at least six months.

If a speed camera catches you exceeding the limit, you will be sent a fixed penalty notice (FPN).

If police stop you, they can give you a verbal warning, issue you with an FPN or order you to go to court.

You may be given the option to attend a speed awareness course depending on the speed you were caught travelling or if you have not been on one in the past three years.

Any money that is made through 20mph fines as the rollout continues won't end up in the Welsh Government's pockets.

All the money will go to the UK Treasury.

Mr Waters said he had met with council leaders on Tuesday along with climate change minister Julie James. He said council leaders said the number of complaints they were receiving about the change had reduced and tailed off but there were "concerning" issues with vandalism and some concerns about local anomalies.

He said officers wanted to give a year for changes to "bed in" but that in areas where there was a feeling roads had been categorised incorrectly changes could be made more quickly.

"We expect those to be small in number," Mr Waters added.

The deputy minister also said there had been evidence of people being confused by the reference to the speed limit as "blanket".

The Welsh Government continue to argue it is "default" not "blanket" but the Welsh Conservatives dispute this and continue to refer to it as a "blanket" speed limit.

Mr Waters said that has been anecdotal evidence that has led to people driving at 40mph in a 20mph zone.

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