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Cardiff councillor opposes 20 mph exceptions proposed for his ward

A CARDIFF councillor has objected to proposed exceptions to the implementation of a 20 mph speed limit on certain roads in his ward.

Cardiff Council, like other local authorities across Wales, has put forward proposals for sections of road which should retain a 30 mph limit ahead of changes which will see the default speed limit go to 20 mph in September 2023.

A number of well-used roads in Cardiff have been put forward by the council, including Newport Road (A4161), North Road, Western Avenue (A48) and Cowbridge Road West.

Sections of road that run through Canton, including Western Avenue and Leckwith Road, have been proposed as exceptions to the Welsh Governments 20 mph default speed limit

Cardiff Council ward member for Canton, Cllr Stephen Cunnah, is not pleased about the prospect of a section of Western Avenue and Leckwith Road, both running through his ward, being exceptions to the 20 mph speed limit.

Cllr Cunnah said: “What I have found at every stage is that 20 mph zones have been widely popular with residents.

“All the time, my experience is that residents are fearful of speeding traffic on their particular street for reasons including taking their kids to school or walking to the shop.

“I strongly support the 20 mph policy for the whole of Wales and in Canton we have lived through it. It would be silly, really, to have any exceptions if we are going to have them for the reasons I have just said.”

Cllr Stephen Cunnah (pic: Stephen Cunnah)

Welsh Government legislation to lower the default speed limit on residential roads and busy pedestrian street from 30 mph to 20 mph was approved by the Senedd in July 2021.

Following this legislative change, local authorities have been tasked with adopting it through a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) before the law comes into force on September 17.

A TRO is a legal document which is used to control the use of a highway network.

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According to the Welsh Government, local authorities will decide which roads should retain the 30 mph limit.

Cllr Cunnah added: “Around about 200 meters of Leckwith Road is an exception and the exception stops right outside the new Fitzalan High School.”

“That particular section isn’t hugely residential, but it is literally outside a brand new school. It is also along an active travel route linking the city centre and Canton to the Vale and Leckwith retail park where people are also walking and cycling to.”

On the proposed exception along Western Avenue, which cuts off and returns to a 20 mph zone where Cathedral School and Cardiff Metropolitan University are before returning to a 30 mph zone, Cllr Cunnah said: “It seems a bit inconsistent to me.

“It is going to be 20 mph, but then it goes back up to 30 mph for a section where you have got houses which face on to the road and Waun-gron train station which people walk and cycle to.”

A Cardiff Council spokesperson said: “Following national legislation to make 20mph the national default position in Wales, local authorities have been tasked with carrying out the required legislative changes which involves consulting on a Traffic Regulation Order before the law comes into force on September 17 2023.

“As part of this process, there is a requirement to advise local councillors of the proposals to ask for their feedback and respond to any questions that arise.

“Cllr Cunnah has been advised that the two sections of road that he refers to, do not meet the criteria for a 20mph speed limit.

“The section from Ely roundabout to Waungron Road is 300 metres long and only has six property frontages on this road, the other is a six-lane carriageway that joins a roundabout to Leckwith Road.

“The council must use the Welsh Government published criteria to determine the speeds limits on these roads, to ensure there is a consistency in the approach across the country.

“These speed limits are then determined by transport professionals, in line with the Welsh Government guidance that has been provided.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Local authorities will decide which roads should retain the 30mph limit in consultation with residents and based on guidance to help ensure consistency across Wales.”