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Call for main road speed limits to revert to 30mph in Newport city

Newport City Council's headquarters, the Civic Centre (Pic: LDRS)

SPEED limits on Newport’s arterial roads which changed to 20mph last September should be returned to 30mph, a city councillor has claimed.

David Fouweather told a council meeting on Thursday (February 29) he believed Newport should have followed Cardiff in retaining 30mph speed limits on some of the key routes into the city.

Cllr David Fouweather (Pic: NCC)

Councils have powers to grant exceptions to the default 20mph speed limit laws the Welsh Government introduced in 2023 if they can show evidence it is safe to do so.

The government has acknowledged complaints about “an apparent lack of consistency across Wales in the decisions on exceptions made by highway authorities” – and a review of councils’ decisions is currently under way.

Responding to Cllr Fouweather at the meeting, Laura Lacey, the cabinet member for infrastructure, said Newport City Council wouldn’t review its own decisions on 20mph exceptions until that Wales-wide audit had finished.

Cllr Fouweather questioned whether the council had “taken any action” and cited the “disappointment of thousands of motorists in this city” who were “sick and tired” of the lower speed limit.

But Cllr Lacey repeated that the council would “wait for the full review”.

She also questioned whether Newport residents were as unhappy with the 20mph speed limits as Cllr Fouweather was stating.

“We need to look at the residents on these streets” where 20mph changes have been implemented, she argued, and suggested such people were more supportive of lower speed limits than the Conservative councillor had alleged.

Following the meeting, Cllr Fouweather said it was “disappointing” the cabinet member had “refused to confirm that she had begun the consideration of returning arterial routes into the city back to 30mph”.

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He claimed “many” drivers would feel “frustrated and angry” the council was “continuing with the war on the motorist”, and said it was “plain common sense” that arterial routes should return to 30mph.

The Welsh Government introduced 20mph default speed limits for road safety reasons, arguing that “decreasing speeds will reduce collisions, save lives and reduce injuries – helping to improve quality of life and make our streets and local communities safer for all”.

The Wales-wide review of how councils set exceptions to 20mph laws is likely to culminate in a final report to the Welsh Government “later this year”.

The government said the review will not, however, be “an evaluation of the success or otherwise of the change in the default speed limit and the roll-out of extensive 20mph limits”.