DRIVERS in Wales will soon see the default speed limit slashed to 20mph.

The law comes into effect September 17, 2023, after passing through the Senedd last July. Authorities say motorists will be given time to adjust to the change although speeding on any road remains a criminal offence.

Wales will be the first UK country to reduce the default limit from 30mph, although the Scottish Government intends to make the same change by 2025.

So, what can drivers on Welsh roads expect and how will the change be enforced?

Newport City Council

South Wales Argus:

The council has been raising awareness about the 20mph limit in its Newport Matters newspaper which goes to every household in the city every two months.

The Newport City Council website includes more information about the changes, as well as links to maps showing which roads will make the switch to 20mph and which have been categorised as “exceptions”.

It’s also up to the council to replace speed limit road signs once the changes have come into effect on September 17.

Welsh Government

South Wales Argus: Lee Waters is the deputy minister for climate change in the Welsh Government.

The Welsh Labour government and Plaid Cymru backed the plan to reduce the default speed limit but the Welsh Conservatives, who form the official opposition in this Senedd, have previously branded the change "ludicrous".

It is the Welsh Government’s responsibility to implement the change, which will see police forces, fire and rescue, local authorities, community speedwatch groups working together to educate and enforce the new law.


The partnership between the four police forces, 22 councils and government in Wales has enforced 20mph limits for over a decade.

GoSafe says there will be no change in the amount of enforcement they provide but there will be an increase in roadside education.

The Welsh Government has provided GoSafe with an additional £600,000 in funding specifically for 20mph roadside engagement and the partnership will see a £244,500 boost in annual funding next year.

The GoSafe website says they will work with partners to “promote the change in driver behaviour” while the most dangerous drivers will face prosecution.

Where there is evidence of “low compliance”, they will consider roadside education operations, speed calming measures or continued mobile enforcement.

GoSafe will work with local authorities to, where necessary, adjust fixed camera schemes. They note that roadside cameras are positioned where collision risks are highest.

“GoSafe enforce in the right place, at the right time, for the right reason,” its website reads. “Enforcement locations are chosen based on collision data and safety concerns at each location.”

If you witness careless or dangerous driving, you can submit images or video to Operation SNAP here.

Gwent Police

South Wales Argus:

If there is still concern in 20mph zones after the initial adjustment period, GoSafe will work with local policing teams and community speedwatch groups to determine the best response.

This could include roadside education schemes, speed calming measures or continued mobile enforcement.

Supt Leanne Brustad of Gwent Police said: “Engagement, education, and enforcement plays a huge part in the rollout.

“We will continue to work closely with our partners to educate drivers as much as possible as the new speed limit comes into force and help deliver all of the benefits of this policy.”

South Wales Fire and Rescue

South Wales Argus: Fire services will help to educate speeding motorists about the change.

Fire and rescue staff will be deployed on roadsides to stop speeding motorists in 20mph zones. As long as the drivers are not “excessively” over the new limit, firefighters will offer them the chance to watch an educational video about the benefits of driving slow.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Group Manager Richie Smart said: “Our firefighters see the devastating impacts that road traffic collisions, including those in built up areas where people and vehicles mix closely, can have. We are therefore pleased to support our partners to raise awareness of the importance of speed limits to keep everyone safe.