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Surge in vandalism of speed signs since 20mph switchover

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

COUNCILS have recorded a major surge in the number of speed limit signs being vandalised or graffitied since Wales adopted new 20mph laws.

The controversial switch to 20mph default speed limits on the nation’s residential roads was completed on September 17 last year, with Welsh ministers saying the new laws would lead to fewer traffic accidents, injuries and deaths.

But the move has proved unpopular with many drivers, including nearly half a million people who signed a Senedd petition calling on the Welsh Government to rescind the “disastrous” policy.

In the Gwent area of Wales, dozens of speed limit signs have been vandalised or graffitied since September, according to council figures obtained by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Among the worst-hit areas is Caerphilly County Borough. The council said it received reports of 48 damaged signs and five signs daubed with graffiti between September and February.

This vandalism has cost the council £4,525 to repair.

The figures for Caerphilly suggest an explosion in the frequency of this behaviour – with 88 incidents recorded in the five years before the switch to 20mph, yet at least 53 incidents in just the past five months since the new law came into force.

Other parts of the Gwent region have recorded even more dramatic increases in the vandalism of speed limit signs over the same time period.

Caerphilly Castle With 20mph Sign

Newport City Council was unable to provide figures on the number of vandalism reports, but did say it had spent around £1,000 on repairing damaged signs since the national switch to 20mph.

The LDRS understands the Welsh Government has allocated funds to councils for repairs, as part of the wider spending on the 20mph policy.

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In a handful of cases, damage to speed limit signs has been reported to the police.

A Blackwood man was reportedly sentenced in February for damaging a 20mph speed limit sign belonging to Caerphilly County Borough Council.

Gwent Police figures show the force has recorded two incidents of vandalism to speed signs since September, leading to one person being arrested and charged.

The force recorded eight incidents of speed limit sign vandalism in the five years before that, the figures show.