THE number of people hurt or killed on Gwent's roads has increased, new figures show.

The number of injuries in crashes and other incidents fell in 2020, coinciding with the start of the coronavirus pandemic and months of stay-at-home lockdowns.

That year, 664 road casualties were recorded across Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly county borough, Monmouthshire, Newport and Torfaen - including 12 deaths and 261 serious injuries.

Last year brought a 20 per cent increase in reports, however. Across Gwent, there were 807 road casualties in 2021, including 16 deaths and 302 serious injuries, according to provisional figures from the UK Government's Department for Transport.

Charities have called for more to be done to tackle the uptick in injuries from traffic accidents.

This week, tens of thousands of children marched for safe streets in the UK in a campaign organised by Brake, a road safety charity.

Britain-wide figures show 2,261 children were injured and 33 killed on the streets last year.

Scott Williams, head of programme delivery at Brake, said every child should have the right to walk in their neighbourhood without fear of traffic or pollution.

"It is vital that children can walk safely in the places where they live." he added.

In Wales, the government is planning to push ahead with reducing the speed limit to 20mph in most residential areas, mainly for safety reasons but also as part of its environmental policy.

The Senedd is due to vote on the proposal in July, and it is expected to pass - Mark Drakeford's government holds half of the seats in the Welsh Parliament and is also part of a co-operation agreement with Plaid Cymru.

If the vote passes, the Welsh Government will cut the default speed limit from 30mph to 20mph on what are called "restricted roads" - highways with street lights no more than 200 metres apart - in September next year.

But the pilot schemes have proved controversial, with some critics of the trials in Monmouthshire saying the new 20mph limits are causing driver confusion.

Overall, across Great Britain there were 127,967 road casualties in 2021 – an 11 per cent rise on the year before – while 1,560 people were killed.

Of those who died, 686 were car users, but 363 pedestrians and 299 motorcyclists were also killed.

The number of pedal cyclists who lost their lives dropped by 20 per cent from 141 in 2020 to 113 last year.

Additional reporting by Will Grimond, Radar data reporter.