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Newport Council criticised for failing to publicise 20mph review to residents

Signs for 20mph in Newport city centre (Pic: Google)

NEWPORT Council has done “very little” to promote a 20mph review to residents, according to an opposition councillor, who also claimed the process is “difficult” to complete.

The city council has launched an online form for residents to give feedback on how 20mph has been implemented on each street.

It follows a change in direction by the Welsh Government, with new transport secretary Ken Skates suggesting more exemptions to 20mph could be made where there was enough local support.

Conservative councillor David Fouweather said the online form on the Newport Council website was active but the local authority has “done very little to publicise this”. 

“Perhaps they are hoping that residents won’t notice and then they will be able to keep the blanket speed limit of 20mph,” he alleged.

The city council said on its website it will “log” residents’ feedback and “review it once new exceptions guidance is available from the Welsh Government”.

That new guidance is expected by the summer, the council added.

When the government introduced the 20mph default speed limit laws last September, councils were allowed to make exemptions on some roads where they could prove it was safe for traffic to continue travelling at a higher speed.

The government’s change in approach, since Vaughan Gething succeeded Mark Drakeford as first minister in March, appears to give communities more say on the speed limits in their neighbourhoods.

Cllr Fouweather, however, has claimed the feedback process should be made simpler in Newport.

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Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, he said he had told the council’s chief executive the review had been made “as difficult as possible”.

“People have to do a separate form for each road and that is ridiculous,” he said, suggesting the council was “content with 20mph”.

Providing feedback was “a long and time-consuming exercise”, and “really is not good enough”, added Cllr Fouweather.

A Newport City Council spokesperson did not respond directly to Cllr Fouweather’s claims, but offered the following advice to residents:

“Welsh Government recently announced that they would be reviewing the guidance regarding 20mph roads and any exemptions.

“Local councils have been asked to gather comments on roads that the public feel should be exempt from the 20mph speed limit, returned to 30mph or remain as 20mph. The comments form allows us to gather that specific information. General comments about the 20mph national policy, as a whole, are a matter for the Welsh Government and Welsh Government ministers, and they have detailed a national programme of listening.

“The council implemented the 20mph speed limits in accordance with the current guidance, and it will consider any requests to change speed limits on roads in line with the revised guidance once this is published.

“Details of the review and links to the form are available on the homepage of the council website and will be included in council communications including our eNewsletter.”

The link to the online form: https://www.newport.gov.uk/20mph