A new 20mph speed which will cost the Welsh Government £4.5billion has been described as “insane” by a cabinet minister.
The new scheme, which first minister Mark Drakeford insists will save lives and reduce noise pollution, will see the speed limit on 7,700 miles of road go from 30mph to 20mph.
Wales became the first nation in Great Britain to lower its speed limits in urban areas last year.
But leader of the House of Commons, Penny Mordaunt said the Welsh government "have ignored the public" and are "pushing ahead with this scheme despite huge opposition".
First minister Mark Drakeford insists the new scheme will save lives and reduce noise pollution
“This is absolutely insane, even by the standards of Labour’s Welsh government," she said.
“They have ignored businesses and they have ignored the public. They are pushing ahead with this scheme despite huge opposition and I think the latest estimate is it will cost the Welsh economy £4.5billion.
“More disturbingly, it is going to increase individuals’ fuel bills considerably and actually be harmful to the environment.”
She added: “There are circumstances where of course 20mph speed limits are a good idea but having them as the default for many roads is crazy.
"Instead of punishing motorists, Labour should be focusing on fixing public transport, in particular the trains.”
The move has been welcomed by road safety campaigners, with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents suggesting that pedestrians are 40 per cent less likely to die when hit by a car travelling at 20mph.
However, the decision has also sparked protests with drivers tying red ribbons to their vehicles in reference to the Locomotive Act of 1865, which was known as the Red Flag Act.
The legislation brought in the world’s first speed limits of 4mph in rural areas and 2mph in towns and required a person waving a red flag to walk in front of vehicles hauling multiple vehicles.
The move has been welcomed by road safety campaigners, with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents suggesting that pedestrians are 40 per cent less likely to die when hit by a car travelling at 20mph
Despite on an attempt to overturn the decision by the Conservative Welsh opposition, Drakeford said people would need time to get used to it.
He said: “Once it’s bedded in I think people will look back and ask themselves why it was we were prepared to tolerate traffic going at excessive speeds in urban areas.
“It’s a small contribution to make, five minutes, isn’t it? When you know that what you are doing . . . will be keeping other people from losing their lives."