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Old 30mph signs being stored could be brought back into use

20mph sign - new picture (Pic: Elgan Hearn Local Democracy Reporting Service)

OLD 30 mph signs being stored by Powys County could be used again if road speeds go up from the controversial 20mph limit.

Last month the Welsh Government’s cabinet secretary for transport, Ken Skates outlined the stages of a review to the controversial 20mph speed limits which came into force all across Wales last September.

The partial U-turn follows a huge outcry against the lower speed limit which is predicted to save lives, which culminated in a petition against it being signed by just under 470,000 people.

The new approach includes encouraging people to contact their local authority such as Powys County Council to suggest where speed limit changes should happen..

According to the government the revised guidance will be published in July, with councils expected to start consultation on possible changes from next September.

Conservative Cllr Iain McIntosh, who wanted to scrap the new limit as soon as it came into force last year, has posed a dozen questions to the cabinet member for highways, transport and recycling, Liberal Democrat, Cllr Jackie Charlton on how the issue will be tackled in Powys.

Cllr Iain McIntosh (Pic: Powys County Council)

Cllr McIntosh asks whether there is data to support the decision to revert to previous limits – statistics on accidents, traffic speed compliance and pedestrian safety.

He also asks how reverting to the original speed limit would “align” with the council’s transportation strategy.

Cllr McIntosh said:  “Can you please confirm if any of the old 30mph signs were retained by the council?

“If any were retained, will it be possible to use the old 30mph signs to replace the 20mph signs in areas reverting back to the old speed limit?”

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Cllr McIntosh added: “It’s clear that had Welsh Government listened to the public, they would have identified where new 20mph zones were necessary, and saved a considerable amount of taxpayers’ money by not placing 20mph speed limits where they are not needed.”

Cllr Charlton told Cllr McIntosh that as the 20mph is a national initiative he needs to ask some of his questions directly to the Welsh Government.

Cllr Charlton said: “I appreciate that the minister’s announcement may be raising expectations but at this stage I am not able to comment on anything too specific.

“We will await the revised guidance on setting exceptions to assess what need to be taken on board when considering what the appropriate limits should be on any given road.

“We will assess sections of road under the revised guidance and liaise with county councillors and town and community councils.”

“Most of the old signage was recycled.

“However, where the signs were undamaged and in good condition, they were stored and have been used in other places across the county.

“If changes are needed, we will seek to reuse any of these that may be left.”

As the revised guidance is several months away from being published, Cllr Charlton said that the council doesn’t know “what effect it may have.”

Cllr Charlton said: “The council’s transport strategy is currently being drafted in conjunction with Ceredigion (Council) as a joint regional plan produced by the Corporate Joint Committee and is closely aligned with active travel and modal shift which focuses on behaviour.

“These are long term policies, and 20 mph was always meant to be part of changing behaviours and making our roads safe for pedestrians and cyclists.”