Decision details

20 MPH Default Limit in Wales from September 2023

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


The Head of Operations - Community Services presented a report on the above item and, following a brief introduction, he referred to the Traffic Management and Parking Team Leader to give a presentation.


The Traffic Management and Parking Team Leader, confirmed that the Wales Transport Strategy 2021 published by Welsh Government, identified one of its key priorities to ‘change the default speed limit from 30mph to 20mph in built-up areas to reduce traffic related injuries and fatalities and make walking and cycling safer and more attractive’.


It was proposed by enabling a much wider take up of 20mph limits it will achieve significant road safety benefits, particularly in deprived neighbourhoods. In the longer term, reductions in the perception of road danger is expected to lead to more walking and cycling which will improve public health and replace some short car journeys, and so achieving further reductions in collisions and casualties. More walking and cycling is also likely to lead to greater social cohesion which brings further societal and health benefits. Furthermore, lower speeds will lead to reductions in traffic noise, while impacts on air quality will be neutral at worst and journey time increases will be slight.


He confirmed that, as part of the new legislation, a 20mph Task Force was created to work closely with local authorities to identify those roads which would be an exception to the legislation. The Authority provided local knowledge and traffic management expertise to help identify those roads which should be an exception to the legislation to help ensure limits throughout the borough are abided to and consequently that the legislation does not fall into disrepute.


As part of his presentation, the Traffic Management and Parking Team Leader advised, that from September 2023, a new default 20mph speed limit will apply to mostresidential and busy pedestrian streets with street lights in Wales.


Proposing to the reduction of default speed limits from 30mph to 20mph in these areas could see a number of benefits, including:


       a reduction in road collisions

       more opportunities to walk and cycle in our communities

       helping to improve our health and wellbeing

       making our streets safer

       safeguarding the environment for future generations.


He confirmed that the above speed restrictions would be introduced by Welsh Government from 17 September 2023.


The Traffic Management and Parking Team Leader, confirmed that the introduction of pilot schemes identified issues in particular with a blanket introduction of the 20mph on all the restricted roads.


A petition submitted within months of the initial proposal, achieved 40,000 signatures suggesting such a blanket 20mph speed limit was inappropriate for all roads, and that there was a need to seek views of communities in relation to this in order to achieve feedback regarding this.


As a result of this consultation, some general exceptions were introduced and not allowed for A and B 30mph roads, if they were situate as follows:


Within 100 metres walk of any educational setting;

Within 100 metres walk of any community centre;

Within 100 metres walk of any hospital;

Where number of residential and/or retail premises fronting a road exceeds a defined density


Two main questions were therefore considered prior to considering whether a 30mph speed limit should be made in a given location, which were a) are there significant numbers (or potential numbers, if speeds were lower) of pedestrians and cyclists travelling along or across the road, and b) If the answer to this is ‘yes’, are the pedestrians and cyclists mixing with motor traffic.


With regards to Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions, the Traffic Management and Parking Team Leader, advised that terminal signs would be allowed at the start and end of the restricted road, however, repeater signs are not allowed within the same area / zone.


Furthermore, if maintaining 30mph on distributor roads, 30mph zones can have repeater signage. This would permit 20mph / 30mph signage at junctions off the distributor roads, potentially increasing driver awareness and road safety in the area, he added.


He further added that, 20mph temporary speed limits outside schools (on 30mph zones) would include illuminated gateways features.


The changes prior to implementation, would require a considerable amount of administrative support, advised the Traffic Management and Parking Team Leader, in relation to the making and/or amendment of Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO’s), for example:-


  1. The revocation of existing TRO’s, completely or partially to ‘restricted road’ status;
  2. The revocation of existing 20mph zones to ‘restricted road’ status;
  3. New TRO’s for agreed exceptions;
  4. New TRO’s for variable speed locations; and
  5. New TRO’s for gateway features


In terms of the next steps of the process, the Traffic Management and Parking Team Leader,


As this included the end of the Officer’s presentation, the Leader asked Members if they had any questions of the Head of Operations – Community Services and/or the Traffic Management and Parking Team Leader.


There were a number of questions that were responded to by the Highways Officers, details of which can be found here


RESOLVED:                            That the report and accompanying    presentation be noted.

Publication date: 23/05/2023

Date of decision: 21/11/2022

Decided at meeting: 21/11/2022 - Town & Community Council Forum

Accompanying Documents: