The Committee received a report on the Welsh Government 20mph Speed Limit Legislation, presented by the Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste and Infrastructure Services which provided an update on legislative change being introduced by Welsh Government in September 2023. The legislation would reduce the current 30mph default speed limit on restricted (streetlit) roads in residential areas to 20mph.
The following comments/queries were raised on the report:-
· Reference was made to the Welsh Government grant funding of £797,074 which was available in 2022/23 and that further bid submissions would be made for following years and that it was anticipated that this would be in the order of £2.16M in 2023/24. Officers were asked, how optimistic were they in obtaining the grant funding? And if not, would it be utilised from the budget?
The Head of Highways and Transportation explained that with the Welsh Government being fully committed to fund the implementation of the 20mph legislation together with positive communications it was confident that the bid would be met.
· Concerns were raised in relation to:
- the heavy resource that would be committed to implement the change in speed limit and;
- the enforcement required to improve safety. It was asked if it was possible for this Committee or Council could write to the Welsh Government to ask for funding for additional enforcement officers;
- In respect of all 30mph roads in residential areas being reduced to 20mph it was asked if this could be retrospectively changed, if so how?
In response, the Highways and Transportation Services Manager stated that a project had been set up to deliver this initiative where it was agreed to retain the work in house rather than outsourcing it to consultations. The benefits were that officers had a sound working knowledge of speed limits, traffic regulation orders and local knowledge which would better serve the project and the communities. Furthermore, officers time was being funded through the grant. In acknowledging that the team was small with a limited time resource, to help manage this, included as part of the budget proposals was a moratorium on Traffic Regulation Orders whilst this legislation is being delivered. However, reassurance was given that should safety be of significant concern the case would be considered accordingly.
In terms of enforcement, the Highways and Transportation Services Manager explained that whilst enforcement could only be achieved through the police and Go Safe Partnership, as part of the initiative a resource pack would be made available for communities which would enable them to set up community speed watch initiatives. Communities would be able to monitor actual speeds as opposed to perceived speeds and develop surveys to understand levels of non-compliance. The intelligence gathered could be provided to the police for them to act on as appropriate. This resource pack had been included in the bid submission.
The Highways and Transportation Services Manager recognised that when the legislation is in force in September 2023, there would likely to be some legacy issues in terms of community views and in some cases there may be a need to review speed limits. Should there be a case to change a speed limit this could take place through the Traffic Regulation Order process.
UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the report on 20MPH Speed Limit Legislation be received.