Guide On Wales' 20mph Speed Limit Change

A new ruling by the Welsh Government is set to make drastic changes to the speed limit on many roads in Wales, with the speed limit to be lowered to 20mph in Wales. In a vote held in the Senedd on July 12th, 2022, the Welsh government voted in favour of a new national speed limit of 20mph that is about to come into place in the middle of September. The government argued that a lower national speed limit would reduce injuries sustained after a collision, encourage bicycle usage as well as walking, make Wales more attractive for its citizens and bring about positive mental and physical well-being.

The Welsh Government had already selected 8 communities as first-phase settlements to trial the new speed limits, which included:

  • St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire
  • Llanelli North, Carmarthenshire
  • St Brides Major, Vale of Glamorgan
  • Central North, Cardiff
  • Cilfrew Village, Neath Port Talbot
  • Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
  • Severnside, Monmouthshire
  • Buckley, Flintshire

Speaking about the new speed limit in Wales, Welsh climate change minister Julie James said: "The future of our towns and cities depends on our ability to move around sustainably and on solutions that have a positive impact on public health environment and communities.

The government is naming the roads that will have their speed limits changed as “restricted roads” which by definition are roads where there is “a system of street lighting furnished by means of lamps placed not more than 200 yards apart”.

The majority of roads that will be affected are residential roads and busy pedestrian streets, however, the Welsh Government will continue to identify which roads will have their speed limits reduced and those that will remain at 30mph. Currently, there are no plans to introduce traffic calming methods such as speed bumps, but this could be a development in the future.

When does the speed limit change in Wales?

The speed limit changes will come into effect on the 17th September 2023. These changes are important, especially for those who frequently make use of residential streets in Wales. Being well-informed on these changes will help you adhere to any updated speed limits, as failure to do so will result in consequences depending on the seriousness of the crime.

The Welsh government has created these speed limit adjustments with the objective of increasing safety for both residents and motorists, therefore it is crucial that all drivers make themselves aware of the new regulations to keep others safe and to avoid legal consequences.

To avoid any legal issues, it is highly recommended that drivers take the time to familiarise themselves with which roads have had speed limit changes, which will not only help them to adhere to the new law but also contribute to the safety of the greater community.

Are all 30mph roads in Wales changing to 20mph?

The majority of residential roads in Wales will have their speed limits reduced from 30mph to 20mph, however, the Welsh Government has said that it recognises that for some roads this will not be practical or feasible. In these cases, these roads will be exempt and are referred to as “exceptions”.

The government is still in the process of allowing local authorities to decide which roads should have their speed limits reduced, but for further information, you can find out more on the Welsh Government’s FAQ page.

How can you tell if you have a 20mph road?

The Welsh Government is investing a large amount of money in the switchover, so it is likely that it will be obvious to drivers if the speed limit has changed to 20mph via new signage. Also, the government has defined the roads that will be affected as “a system of street lighting furnished by means of lamps placed not more than 200 yards apart” so it should be relatively apparent which roads are 20mph and which ones are not.

Are 20mph speed limits enforceable in Wales?

From the 17th September 2023, the new 20mph speed limits will be enforceable in Wales, with consequences for violating them ranging from fines to points on the individual’s license. If you have any questions regarding the new arrangements, our solicitors in South Wales would be happy to answer.

How will the speed limit changes be enforced?

The speed limit changes will be enforced through traditional methods such as speed cameras and patrol officers. It is important to adhere to the new speed limits to avoid being caught by a speed camera which could then lead to charges and fines against you.

How can I stay updated on speed limit changes in my area?

To stay informed about any potential speed limit changes within your area, we highly recommend regularly checking the Welsh Government’s website, which will be regularly updated with new information about any potential changes to the speed limit in your specific area. The government has also published a 20mph speed limit map in Wales on DataMapWales, which gives an overview of which roads will remain at 30mph.

How can our solicitors help?

We understand that the new speed limit in Wales will likely cause confusion and that there will be a lot of people who receive penalty charge notices as a result of the change. If you have received a penalty charge notice and wish to appeal it, our solicitors have years of experience in this field and would be more than happy to help.

We can advise on the appeal process and the best course of action for your particular situation. We will also scrutinise the circumstances of your charge in great detail and create a robust strategy for how to move forward in your best interests.

Contact our solicitors in South Wales

Our solicitors work from local offices in Pontypridd, Swansea and Talbot Green, or you can reach us at Alternatively, you can use our contact form and one of our staff will be in touch as quickly as possible.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.