Major new speed limit changes could see further rollout of 20mph roads despite Wales backlash

20mph speed limit sign

The new changes could be rolled out in 2025

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 08/12/2023

- 09:11

The report states: 'Appropriate roads in built-up areas will have a safer speed limit of 20mph by 2025'

Major new speed limit changes could be rolled out in the coming years to cut the majority of roads to just 20mph.

Scottish Transport Minister Fiona Hyslop confirmed the plans at the 20s Plenty for Scotland conference, saying that it would boost road safety.

Wales became the first UK nation to cut the speed limit on almost all restricted roads earlier this year in a bid to cut the number of accidents.

These restricted roads tend to be found in urban and other built-up areas and can be identified by the presence of street lights.

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Aside from Wales, the lower speed limits can already be found in the Highlands and Scottish Borders, Glasgow, although the number of 20mph roads is growing.

The policy was included in the SNP programme for Government as part of the Bute House agreement with the Scottish Greens, the BBC reported.

It states: “Appropriate roads in built-up areas will have a safer speed limit of 20mph by 2025.”

Mark Ruskell, transport spokesperson for the Greens, launched a Members Bill to try and slash speed limits to 20mph, but was rejected in 2018.

He said: “Introducing 20mph speed limits is the simplest, quickest and cheapest way to reduce casualties, and I am delighted to be working with Scottish Greens in government and with campaigners and local authorities to support this vital work.

“Quietly across Scotland, our communities are changing for the better and becoming safer, greener and cleaner, with safer 20mph speed limits, a ban on pavement parking and the introduction of low-emission zones.”

He added that the introduction of 20mph speed limits in Wales had been a “big success” and suggested that Scotland should follow suit.

“It is one of the most important road safety measures that we can take, with an impact that will be felt for generations,” the MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife said.

The response to the Welsh 20mph speed limit changes has been mixed with some drivers protesting against the new rules, saying it will make journeys longer.

A petition was launched in September, calling on the Welsh Government to “rescind and remove the disastrous 20mph law”.

It went on to break the Senedd Petitions website record with more than 466,000 signatures of people backing the call to scrap the rules.

Despite this, the creator of the petition, Mark Baker, said he would leave the petition online for the full six-month duration, meaning the Government can not respond to it before March 13, 2024.

Charging of the new speed limits is expected to begin from December 17, with drivers potentially facing fines for going over 20mph in built-up areas.

The road safety partnership GoSafe said it would apply the National Police Chiefs’ Council guidelines which outline the enforcement thresholds of “not less than 10 per cent plus 2mph”.


20mph speed limit sign

Charges are expected to begin in Wales later this month


It is believed that GoSafe and Welsh police forces will only start to prosecute drivers if they drive at 26mph in a 20mph limit area.

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