Wales: Government’s 20mph policy slammed by Asghar
Drivers in Wales are tying red ribbons to their cars in protest at plans to cut the speed limit to 20mph in all urban areas.
And Natasha Ashgar, Welsh Conservative Shadow Transport Minister, has launched a scathing attack on the ruling Labour devolved administration, branding the scheme “ridiculous” and “madcap”.
The stunt is a reference to the Locomotive Act 1865, also known as the Red Flag Act, which introduced the world’s first speed limit – four mph in rural areas and two mph in towns. Vehicles which were hauling carriages were mandated to have a man with a red flag walking in front of them.
Critics claim the 20mph limit will have little impact of the behaviour of drivers, with RAC research suggesting compliance with such restrictions is poor.
Ms Ashgar, a member of the Welsh Senedd, pointed the finger at Labour and First Minister Mark Drakeford, saying: “I want to put full responsibility of this on the Welsh Labour government.
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“They have always been anti-road, they’re clearly anti-driver. And this is just so detrimental to the economy here in Wales”
Speaking to GB News, she continued: “Unfortunately, it’s a really ill-thought out policy and it’s going to have such a profound effect on people’s day-to-day lives going forward.”
The Welsh Government should be focusing on “prevalent issues” such as what she called the “failing health service”, and standards within education, Ms Ashgar said.
She added: “We have so many issues across Wales that we need to be dealing with, but unfortunately, their priorities is this ridiculous, madcap 20 mph blanket speed limit, which they are going to be spending approximately £60 million, and of that £26 million has been spent on road signs.”
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The Senedd passed the law by 39 votes to 15 following a heated debate.
Ministers claim that improved road safety could result in a £58 million saving over 30 years as a result of reduced emergency service demand and hospital treatment.
Most streets in Wales which currently have a 30mph speed limit will switch to 20mph on Sunday, September 17.
Speaking in June, Deputy Climate Change Minister Lee Waters, who has responsibility for transport issues, said: “In Wales we do things differently, we look after each other and trust the science.
“Evidence shows that a vehicle travelling at 30mph will still be travelling at 24mph in the time it would take a car travelling 20mph to stop.
“Reducing speed not only saves lives; it will help build stronger, safer communities – better places to live our lives.”
Mr Drakeford added: “Our streets will be quieter, reducing the scourge of noise pollution, and slower speeds also boosts the confidence of people to cycle and walk around their local areas and for children to play outdoors.
“Evidence from around the world is clear – reducing speed limits reduces collisions and saves lives.
“I am confident if we all work together, we can make the necessary changes that will benefit us now and in the future.”
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