It has been only ten days since the Welsh Government introduced the blanket 20mph speed limit. I have already been inundated with emails from constituents who have expressed their anger at the chaotic, confusing, and dangerous implementation of this policy.
There are 30mph road signs still in place in areas where the speed limit is now 20mph; there are two signs on the same road showing different speed limits and the Welsh Government’s website, which has the list of exempted 20mph roads, is confusing and difficult to navigate.
These issues are very concerning given the amount time that the Welsh Government has had to implement this policy. As such, I have written to both Welsh Government and Wrexham Council urging them to address these issues and ensure that all signage regarding 20mph is uniform and unambiguous. To view a copy of my letter, please visit my website.
Sarah Atherton MP commented: "For months, I have been campaigning against this anti-car and anti-motorist policy. The initial cost of £32 million could have been spent addressing the major problems with healthcare and housing in Wrexham – both of which are also under the remit of the Welsh Government. For context, £32 million would fund 1,200 more nurses in Wales. Given the state of the NHS in Wales, I know that many residents are questioning the Welsh Government’s use of taxpayers’ money.
This is reflected by the fact that over 400,000 people have signed a petition, myself included, calling on the Welsh Government to reverse the blanket 20mph policy. This represents the highest number of signatures for a petition in Welsh history, and around 23% of the adult population ion Wales. I would encourage residents to sign this petition on the Welsh Government’s website to make their voices heard."
Let me be clear, I do not oppose introducing 20mph speed limits outside schools, playgrounds, places of worship and hospitals. However, I believe that this blanket ‘one size fits all’ approach lacks common sense.
Wrexham has never been more ready for growth and investment yet the blanket 20mph policy will stifle business and tourism. I am incredibly sympathetic to motorists including bus, taxi and delivery drivers whose work is negatively impacted by this policy, which is set to cost the Welsh economy up to £4.5 billion.
I am particularly concerned that the 20mph policy will slow down the emergency services and potentially put more lives at risk – a recently leaked email said that the new speed limits will impact the speed at which responders can get to emergencies.
In case you are not aware, GoSafe mobile speed vans will visit multiple locations in Wrexham over the next few weeks, and static speed cameras have been recalibrated. To see a full list of areas where the GoSafe van will be visiting, please head over to the ‘News’ section of my website.
Whilst the Welsh Labour Government continue to turn a deaf ear, I am listening to you. I have revamped my Transport Survey on my website, and I would like to hear your experiences. To have your say, visit www.sarahatherton.org.uk and click on ‘Transport Survey’ on the homepage.
Going forward, whilst I obviously would like the Welsh Government to reverse this policy, this is now the law. But for however long as the Welsh Government continues to defend this costly and chaotic policy, I will continue to represent the concerns of my constituents with regards to its implementation, safety and cost.