family walking

Rhiannon Hardiman, Manager for Living Streets Cymru, provides some detailed tips on how to respond to the Welsh Government's 20mph consultation

Rhiannon Hardiman

Question 1

It’s important to answer yes to this one!

Questions 2 & 3

If you are very concerned about all of these issues then be sure to say so.

Question 4

This question applies to you if you have school aged children – speeding traffic is commonly cited as an issue which prevents more children walking to school.

Question 5

If you want to secure these change to reduce our national default speed limit in built-up areas from 30mph to 20mph, then select Option 1 - ‘Strongly in Favour’ - and go to Q6.

Question 6

Reducing traffic speeds on streets where people live, work, play, study or shop will benefit all of the opportunities listed here, so ticking every option here will make the strongest case. Backed up by the evidence, Public Health Wales has adopted the position that not only will lowering the default speed limit to 20mph (from 30mph) save lives and reduce injuries but that there are also likely to be benefits in terms of reduced noise and safer and more cohesive communities that are more pleasant to live in. People are also likely to be encouraged to walk or cycle more. They note that evidence suggests the potential for a wide range of public health benefits and few, if any, negative effects.

Question 7

People who respond that they are either strongly or slightly against the move to 20mph will be given a list of reasons as to why they may be against it. Living Streets disagrees with all of these possible reasons as there is no evidence to support them. We know, for example, that the majority of pedestrian fatalities occur in built up areas and that the chance of a collision is greatly increased with higher traffic speed. Not only that, but the chance of survival goes down as speeds go up.

Question 8

There is an opportunity here to start thinking about the impact it would have on you personally. The important thing here is to say that it will encourage and enable you to walk, cycle or use public transport as part of your journey more often. We do not want to see these changes lead to more people driving.

Question 9

The evidence from Public Health Wales demonstrates the social benefits that 20mph will bring. Safer streets where it is safer to cross the road, there are more people out walking on the street and communities are brought closer together will bring huge benefits for older people, people with a physical or sensory impairment and pregnant women.  Indeed, the improved air quality that comes from reducing braking and accelerating in 20mph areas can significantly improve the life chances of an unborn child.

Question 10

With businesses facing unprecedented pressures to remain viable, it is essential that we look properly at what makes our high streets pleasant places to be. Our evidence shows that more walking-friendly retail areas lead to increased footfall and increased spend. Public Health Wales agree in their Position Statement that 20mph improves business viability.


people walking

Question 18

There is an opportunity here to raise the issues that are important to you, here are the responses to some of our frequently asked questions to help you out:

Will it take me longer to get around at 20 mph?

No. Lower speeds increase road capacities, as the bunching effect at junctions is reduced as traffic flow improves. That’s why urban motorways are often 40 or 50mph, as opposed to 70mph. Even an urban journey of three miles, taking 30 minutes in a 30mph limit, was shown to only increase to 33 minutes in a 20mph setting.

Do car drivers want a 20mph speed limit?

A survey published by the Welsh Government in 2021[i] has shown that 80% of people in Wales, including motorists, are in favour of a 20mph national default speed limit in the areas in which they live.

How can the Welsh Government afford to introduce 20mph in this economic climate?

The introduction of a national 20mph speed limit would bring significant cost savings to the National Health Service. Researchers at Public Health Wales state “if all current 30 mph limit roads in Wales became 20 mph limits, it is estimated that 6–10 lives would be saved and 1200–2000 casualties avoided each year, at a value of prevention of £58M–£94M”

Surely, it’s impossible to enforce 20mph speed limits?

The police are obliged to enforce all speed limits. The evidence is that drivers drop their speed when a 20mph limit is enforced. In Portsmouth, decreased limits have helped reduce speed by an average of 6.3mph. This occurred without the need for any extra police enforcement.

Did you know that right now Wales has a great chance to make its streets safer for everyone?

The Welsh government is consulting everyone across the country on whether they would welcome 20mph being the default speed limit on all residential streets.

As you might expect, Living Streets Cymru is 100% in favour - and I am asking you to join us.

Our online form makes this easy - first by backing Living Streets' calls for 20mph, and then taking part in the consultation yourself - and I have prepared some tips on how to answer in case you might find them handy.

Children and a 20mph marking