Enforcement of 20mph law set to start in Wales

Wales introduced a default 20mph speed limit in September which has been met with widespread criticism. Credit: PA Images

20mph speed limits introduced across Wales in September will be enforced from today following the end of a three month grace period.

The Welsh Government has previously said that enforcement would follow an “initial bedding-in period.”

ITV Wales understands that enforcement - known as ‘Operation Ugain’ - will begin on Monday 8 January. 

Wales became the first UK nation to decrease the default speed limit to 20mph in September.

Wales became the first UK nation to decrease the default speed limit to 20mph in September.

Since then, the Welsh Government has taken an 'education-focused' approach to the enforcement of the new limit.

Offending motorists will be stopped by roadside teams and given a choice between a fine and points, or roadside engagement.

Ministers said the speed reduction will make the country a safer and greener place to live, but opponents argue that the costs of the scheme greatly outweigh the benefits.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “At the start of November 2023, GoSafe restarted enforcing the speed limit in areas where 20mph had been in place before September 2023.

"From January 2024, Go Safe will begin enforcing the new default 20mph speed limit as it rolls out Operation Ugain across Wales.”

Natasha Asghar MS, Shadow Minister for Transport, said: “This month, an idea which should have remained as a footnote within the Labour Party’s manifesto and has been questioned, condemned, and refuted by hundreds of thousands of people across the country will be implemented with the full force of the law in Wales.

“Labour and Plaid’s blanket 20mph speed limit is not only vastly unpopular, it is also slowing our country down and damaging our economy.

“The Welsh Conservatives would scrap this policy and save the Welsh economy billions of pounds.”

GoSafe, who are responsible for speed cameras, said: "Our aim is to ensure compliance with the speed limits for the benefit of road safety, not to catch people out. Enforcement is carried out where there is evidence of risk and harm to people."

Plaid Cymru Leader Rhun ap Iorwerth said: “Four months have passed since Plaid Cymru tabled a Senedd amendment, and won the vote, gaining a commitment from Welsh Government to review the impact of new limits, empower local authorities to make further exemptions.

“The new limits are now being enforced – and we’re still waiting on a review.

“Plaid Cymru has consistently supported the principle of widespread 20mph zones, but we’ve also made it clear that there are some places where the new limit doesn’t feel reasonable, and it’s important that communities are empowered to see those limits reviewed. It must be an ongoing process.

“We’re seeing no sign of how Welsh Government is implementing the review in line with this clear Senedd vote. We need to see this happening. It’s about building public trust.

“We know the Conservatives are determined to play political games with this, despite the original Wales-wide 20mph proposal having been made by a Conservative MS. But whilst they voted against this review, Plaid Cymru will continue to make the case for effective and reasonable implementation of this road safety policy.”

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