A LONG-running campaign spearheaded by a Newport AM to bring in a 20mph default speed limit in residential areas in Wales has taken a step forward.

Newport East AM John Griffiths has long campaigned for the lower limit to be introduced, with research showing decreasing it from 30mph to 20mph would cut the number of crashes by 17 per cent, and also benefit the environment due to less acceleration, gear changes and braking.

And, speaking in the Assembly this week, first minister Mark Drakeford said the Welsh Government "believe(s) that 20mph should be the default speed limit for residential areas" and work is being carried out to determine how it can be implemented.


20mph limits would 'reclaim streets from the motor car'BEHIND THE HEADLINES: Are we likely to see the standard 30mph speed limit drop to 20mph?'Clear, consistent and unchanging majority support for 20mph in Wales'

"We know that 20mph zones reduce speed of traffic, reduce accidents, particularly accidents to children, and we want to see that become the default position right across Wales," he said.

Welcoming the commitment, Labour AM Mr Griffiths said: "It's very important in terms of enabling community life to strengthen, because older people will feel happier if they're able to walk along the streets with 20mph limits in place and parents will feel much happier in enabling their young people to play outside.

"It will enable active travel - walking and cycling - to a greater extent, so it has very, very many benefits, and I'm pleased that they're now strongly recognised by Welsh Government."

Councils already have powers to introduce 20mph limits on roads in their area, but introducing a blanket limit across the whole of Wales is the responsibility of the Welsh Government.

Speaking outside the chamber, Mr Griffiths said bringing in the lower limit "will allow us to reclaim our roads and create community streets - community streets that become a better place to be with a 20mph limit.”

South Wales Argus:

Newport East AM John Griffiths

"We must continue to try and find robust interventions that will have positive effects on the challenges facing public health today - air pollution, obesity and road traffic injuries are all inter-related and introducing 20mph limits is a tangible action plan that would make vast improvements to the Welsh population," he said.

"20mph limits gives Wales the opportunity to redefine the spaces between our homes, changing them from 'roads' to 'streets'. With lower speeds, dangerous thoroughfares become public spaces where it’s easier to walk, cycle, socialise and play."

The limit was introduced on some roads in Bristol in 2014, and research has shown an estimated 18 lives have been saved, and more than 680 injuries have been prevented as a result.

Other cities to introduce the limit in some areas include Edinburgh, Birmingham, Bath, Manchester, Liverpool and Cambridge, and Transport for London has said the limit will be put in place on some roads within the Congestion Charging Zone by 2020.