THERE is "clear, consistent and unchanging majority support" for the idea of introducing 20mph speed limits as standard in Wales, an event has heard.

Newport East AM John Griffiths, who has frequently called for the policy to be introduced in Wales, hosted a discussion on the idea in the Senedd on Wednesday.

Among the speakers was professor Alan Tapp of the University of the West of England, who said a YouGov survey carried out for the university last year showed 62 per cent of people in Wales, and the same number across the UK as a whole, were in favour of introducing 20mph speed limits as standard.

Saying previous studies had shown similar results, he said: "There is clear, consistent and unchanging majority support for 20mph limits, but people don't realise it."

But he said there was also a widespread perception that the idea is not a popular one - deterring many from speaking up about it.

"If you ask people if they think most people support 20mph limits, they think they're in a minority," he said.

"I call it the Jeremy Clarkson effect. He's very entertaining and so people think he speaks for the majority - because of that people who do agree with him feel more confident.

"But it's all rubbish - if you speak to most people they say they support 20mph."

Rod King of the 20's Plenty campaign also spoke at the event, saying: "A city which permits 30mph limits on residential roads will never, ever be child friendly."

He added: "30mph is no longer fit for purpose as a speed limit for urban roads.

"It was set in the 1930s when there were only about 1.5 million vehicles on the roads.

"There are now about 35 million."

Speaking after the event, which was also attended by representatives of Public Health Wales and Sustrans Cymru, Labour AM Mr Griffiths said: "The case for extending reduced speeds to many more of our neighbourhoods is strong and building.

"A default 20mph limit on local roads would turn current practice on its head.

"Instead of 30mph, applying unless a lower speed is considered more appropriate, 20mph would be the norm, subject to the circumstances of particular roads justifying exceptions.

"Roads would be safer meaning a greater protection of life and limb.

"It allows local communities to reclaim their streets by encouraging more walking and cycling to improve health and fitness, fosters community interaction and cohesion, facilitates children to play outside and tackles air pollution."