MP demands 'out of touch' Labour scraps new 20mph speed limit law changes

A 20mph speed limit sign

The new law changes will be introduced on September 17

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 13/09/2023

- 12:21

First Minister Mark Drakeford has insisted that the plan to introduce 20mph roads will go ahead

An MP has called on the Welsh Government to change its plans to change laws which would make most residential roads have a maximum speed limit of 20mph.

From September 17, Wales will see the vast majority of speed limits on restricted roads slashed from 30mph to just 20mph, in a bid to improve road safety.

Jonathan Edwards, the MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, blasted the plans to introduce 20mph speed limits and criticised the decision-makers in Cardiff.

The 47-year-old said the policymakers were “out of touch” with those who live in rural areas across Wales, saying he had received a number of messages from constituents with strong objections to the plan.

A 30mph speed limit sign

Most restricted roads will fall from 30mph to 20mph


He added: “It is a burning hot topic in our communities. Constituents tell me how out-of-touch Senedd members in Cardiff are in pushing forward these proposals.

“With the NHS on its knees, my own personal view is that Senedd members should be concentrating on making sure people can see their GP and access public dentistry.”

He spoke of how he was very concerned about how it would be policed, with police forces around Wales being “stretched and under-resourced”.

While the Independent MP was critical of the plan, he admitted there was merit in introducing the 20mph speed limit roads in larger cities like Cardiff and Swansea to limit congestion.

Jonathan Edwards added: “I am not convinced that this is a priority for rural areas such as Carmarthenshire.

“I am hoping the Welsh Government will see sense and take a more flexible approach going forward.”

Spain was one of the first countries to introduce lower speed limits of 30km/h (18.6mph) in 2019, with the country seeing a 20 per cent drop in urban road deaths.

Álvaro Gómez, the Head of the National Road Safety Observatory in Spain, wrote a letter to the Welsh Government, saying: “You can do it."

In spite of the criticism from motorists and politicians around the UK, First Minister Mark Drakeford is adamant that the scheme would go ahead, saying it would save lives and money.

He stated that it was a manifesto commitment from the Labour Party and the Government was committed to moving forward with the plan, even in the face of widespread condemnation.

The First Minister added: “We will invest around £32million in one-off expenditure and that one-off money will save £92million every single year in the NHS.

“While I understand that all change is challenging, I’m also confident that once it’s there and people get used to it, people will find the advantages of it.


Mark Drakeford

Mark Drakeford is backing the plans to slash speed limits


“It will prevent accidents, it will save lives, and it will be absolutely worth doing.”

Transport for London announced plans to roll out more 65km of 20mph roads across the capital before the end of the year.

This is part of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Vision Zero scheme which aims to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from the transport network.

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