Police in Wales start enforcing 20mph speed limit in built up areas

Monday 8 January 2024

Police in Wales will begin enforcing the new 20mph speed limit in built-up areas this month.

The £34m law came into effect last September but motorists were given a "bedding in" period before enforcement, the Welsh government has confirmed.

Anyone that breaks the new limit could receive a fine of £100 and three penalty points, or roadside education and engagement.

Anyone that breaks the new limit could receive a fine of £100

Roadside teams will use speed monitoring equipment to catch offenders and ministers say not all drivers caught breaking the limit will be prosecuted, just the most dangerous ones.

Ministers said they wanted to reduce deaths, noise and pollution and encourage people to walk or cycle, making Wales the first UK nation to lower speed limits in residential areas from 30mph to 20mph.

The Welsh Government predicts the new limits could save up to 100 lives and 20,000 casualties in the first decade.

Reducing speed limits to 20mph has been a growing trend for highway authorities in recent years, particularly around schools.

In London, more than half of roads have a 20mph speed limit after Transport for London introduced the limit on  in 2020 on all roads inside the central Congestion Charging Zone.

There are also plans to expand the number of 20mph roads in Scotland, Cornwall, Oxfordshire, Leeds, Wirral and Herefordshire.

Motorist Nicola Benney shows damage to her car after a crash in a 40mph area, supporting 20mph zones

North Wales Police say they will enforce the limit where the data, including speed compliance statistics, showed there would "be a road safety benefit".

A study commissioned by the DfT indicated a reduction to 20mph “doesn’t actually make much difference” to driver speeds.

The study published in November 2018 found 20mph limits in residential areas were supported by the majority of residents and drivers.

The report concluded there was no evidence of a significant drop in the number of crashes and casualties after the introduction of 20mph limits.

Not all motorists are against the plan - motorist Nicola Benney posted pictures on social media of the damage her car suffered after a crash in 2023.

She wrote: "I have kept out of the 20mph debate in Wales, but now feel I need to speak up. The photos show what was left of my car following a 40mph RTC in July. As you can see there wasn’t much left after I was cut out, and there were a hell of a lot of emergency services involved.

"I suffered extensive injuries including, a broken leg, broken ribs that required surgery, lumbar, cervical and thoracic fractures, a bleed on the brain and extensive bruising. I am still unable to work or do much for myself.

"I am still having a variety of treatments for my injuries but I am alive to tell my tale. Now imagine a child being hit at 40mph and the likely injuries they would sustain! Personally having experienced my injuries and the emotional trauma I am going through which continues today and is at times unbearable, and I never want another adult let alone a child to suffer in that way.

"It is just unthinkable, When I can return to driving I shall continue to follow the rules of the road it saves live."