Home » Community groups could help monitor new speed limit, councillors are told
Carmarthenshire Community Politics West Wales

Community groups could help monitor new speed limit, councillors are told

COMMUNITY groups could help monitor new 20mph speed limits when they come into force this year, Carmarthenshire councillors were told.

Legislation in Wales will change in September and reduce the default speed limit on single lane roads with street lights from 30mph to 20mph, unless a specific exception is put in place.

Speaking at a council scrutiny committee meeting, Cllr Deryk Cundy asked how the 20mph limit would be enforced. “Unless we can enforce it, it’s not going to work very well,” he said.
CllrCundy asked if the place, sustainability and climate change scrutiny committee could write to ministers asking for enforcement funding, but was told this was a matter for police and road safety group Go Safe.
But highways and transport manager Richard Waters said the council was looking to put in place a package of funding for community organisations to undertake “speed watch initiatives”. These groups would monitor speeds and carry out surveys to gauge levels of non-compliance, which could then be fed back to police.
Cllr Cundy questioned whether members of the public would volunteer for this work. He said he was a member of a local road safety group and that he had only received one form back from 34 he had recently sent out.
“You get a lot of people moaning (about speeding) on Facebook, but they don’t want to be involved that much,” he said.
CllrCundy also said he thought the amount of work needed to implement the 20mph limit was “a real worry”.

A report before the committee said many urban roads will automatically default to the new limit, but new traffic regulation orders will be needed for other roads or stretches of road – for example residential roads without street lighting – to ensure a continuity of the limit and “to meet the expectations of local communities”.
In addition, traffic orders will be needed for restricted sections of A and B roads where it is considered that the current 30mph limit should continue.
The council has received £797,000 from the Welsh Government this year to prepare to implement the changes. It has just submitted a £2.1 million bid for 2023-24 to roll out new signs and the estimated 640 new traffic orders needed.
Transport officers told the committee they were confident of getting the full £2.1 million. But there was likely to be a moratorium on other new traffic orders, except for overriding cases.

Introducing the report, Cllr Edward Thomas, cabinet member for transport, waste and infrastructure services, said the rollout of the 20mph limit was a significant piece of work.
He added: “It will require a fundamental change in driver behaviour, and achieving a reasonable level of compliance will require sustained messaging on a longer time frame.”
Cllr Thomas stressed the key aim of the 20mph limit was to improve road safety, particularly for children, and encourage more walking and cycling. There had been a lot of opposition at the time to seatbelt legislation, he said, but that was not the case now.

CllrCundy said all roads in his Bynea ward looked set to change to 20mph, and asked if there could be instances where a 30mph limit could apply. Mr Waters said “strategic” roads would be reviewed and that the 20mph limit in some instances might not necessarily be introduced.
Mr Waters added that the council did not expect to get everything right first time, and that further changes could be made after the legislation came into force.
The council is consulting on the traffic order changes needed and liaising with Dyfed-Powys Police and the Welsh Government, which is expected to ramp up its 20mph messaging in March.
Nearly 8,000 miles of roads in Wales could be affected by the new limit, which has been piloted in some areas. Labour and Plaid Cymru support the 20mph rollout while the Welsh Conservatives oppose it. The Tories say 20mph speed limits should be at the discretion of councils but should always be in place outside schools and playgrounds.
Anywhere between 40 and 440 lives could be saved over 30 years when the changes come into force, according to Welsh Government analysis, which said this would in turn save money for the emergency services and could help the economy.

But a Government document said longer journey times could cause a substantial economic disadvantage. Deputy climate change minister and Llanelli MS Lee Waters told BBC Wales said he did not believe this, given that most journey times would be slowed by no more than two minutes. “Also it’s going to save lives – we know it’s going to save lives,” he said.