An online petition demanding the removal of the “disastrous” 20mph law in Wales has topped 400,000 signatures, smashing the record for the most ever received by the Senedd (Welsh Parliament).
Last week built-up areas in Wales had their speed limits reduced from 30mph to 20mph – becoming the first UK nation to implement the rule.
Protesters also marched against the speed limit change in Cardiff on Saturday – but Wales’s deputy climate minister has defended the policy, arguing that it “saves lives”, makes “communities safer for everyone”, and had “received the backing from a majority of Senedd members.”
The petition slammed the government, stating “YOU HAVE NOT LISTENED TO US,” while also pointing out a village in Monmouthshire had “reverted their trial” because of the “absolute carnage” it was causing.
It accused the policy of being “spearheaded by the Welsh Government’s Climate Change department, and NOT Health & Safety”.
The online petition will now certainly be considered for debate in the Senedd, as all petitions over 10,000 must be.
Meanwhile, hundreds demonstrated in Cardiff with an array of banners complaining about various issues, including a call to “defy the travel lockdown”, as well as the introduction of digital IDs, and warnings over “cashless societies”.
Ultra Low Emission Zones (Ulez), Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) and Clean Air Zones (Caz) were also targeted at the demonstrations.
The Welsh deputy climate minister, Lee Waters, remained in staunch defence of the policy, which was a manifesto promise in Welsh Labour’s record Senedd election win in 2021.
Nevertheless, he is to face a vote of no confidence which the Tories confirmed they would table soon.
Welsh Tory transport spokesperson Natasha Asghar said: “His position is untenable, it’s time for him to go,” adding he is “attempting to undermine the will of the overwhelming majority of Welsh people because he is unable to admit he has got it wrong”.
Waters explained the environmental benefits of the policy change: “When speed limits are lower, people feel safer to cycle and to walk, so fewer people are driving.”
The health and safety benefits were also summed up by a government spokesperson: “The introduction of a 20mph speed limit in mainly residential areas is designed to save lives and make our communities safer for everyone, including motorists.”
Road safety charity Brake claims that an average speed reduction of 1mph reduces crash frequency by five percent.
Waters also posted on X/Twitter yesterday to claim that “a car moving at 20mph stops at almost half the distance as a car moving at 30mph”, with the caption “a little slower, but a whole lot better”.