Drivers face 'fines and points' as Wales begins enforcement of controversial 20mph speed limit changes

Drivers face 'fines and points' as Wales begins enforcement of controversial 20mph speed limit changes

'Mr Loophole' Nick Freeman on 20mph speed limit changes

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 08/01/2024

- 08:52

The speed limit changes are estimated to have cost £34million

Motorists are being warned of the possibility of fines when driving in Wales this month as the police will begin enforcement of the new 20mph speed limits.

In September, the Welsh Government introduced new laws to slash the speed limits on restricted roads down to 20mph.

This will generally affect all residential areas with streetlights as drivers will now see speed limits drop in a bid to improve road safety.

The Welsh Government has now confirmed that the new laws will be enforced in January after an “initial bedding in period”.

20mph speed limit sign

The police are expected to begin enforcement if someone drives at 26mph


Ministers have clarified that not all drivers breaking the 20mph limit will be prosecuted, with this being reserved for the most dangerous offenders.

Enforcement is expected to start today, January 8, with roadside teams using speed monitoring equipment to catch people breaking the 20mph limits.

Motorists who are stopped by the police will be given a choice between a fine and points, or roadside engagement.

A spokesperson for the Welsh Government said: “Following the introduction of the new default 20mph speed limit in September 2023, there was an initial bedding in period to give people time to adapt to the change.”

The road safety partnership GoSafe Wales said enforcement of the 20mph zones would start at 10 per cent of the speed limit, plus four miles per hour.

This means GoSafe and Welsh police forces will only start to prosecute drivers if they drive at 26mph in a 20mph limit area.

Road safety charities have praised the new speed limit changes, saying it will help slash incidents, injuries and road deaths.

According to GoSafe, “Operation Ugain” will be rolled out through roadside engagement and reminding motorists of the new law changes.

A statement from GoSafe added: “These operations use speed monitoring equipment to identify people travelling over the speed limit, before stopping the vehicle and giving the driver a choice between a fine and points or roadside engagement.”

The £34million law was met with widespread criticism with drivers taking aim at the new speed limits and serious fractures appearing in the Welsh Senedd after its introduction.

Records have also been broken for the number of drivers supporting a reversal in the plans as more than 467,000 signed a petition to “rescind and remove the disastrous 20mph law”.

Mark Baker, the creator of the petition, called on the Government to listen to drivers and “demand that the foolish idea be stopped”, with the Petitions Committee expected to consider it for a debate.

While there has been major support for the petition, it is not expected to be heard until March as Baker wants all drivers to be able to make their voices heard.

Speaking in September, Welsh Conservative Shadow Transport Minister Natasha Asghar, slammed the new laws, branding it “Labour’s madcap policy”.


20mph speed limit sign

More than 467,000 people have signed a petition calling for the speed limits to be scrapped


She added: “The new blanket 20mph speed limit has been in place for just one day and already people have had enough of it.

“This highlights that there has been little to no consultation with the general public, the Labour Government have clearly avoided all public scrutiny in a bid to get their socialist agenda pushed through.”

Other parts of the UK have also followed suit including London, Oxfordshire, Cornwall, Leeds and Herefordshire.

Scotland is expected to slash speed limits across the country with new 20mph measures coming into force by next year.

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