A NORTH Wales Senedd Member is calling on the Welsh Government to outline how much it will cost to introduce the default 20mph speed limit in Wales.

It comes after the Welsh Government claimed the scheme will save Wales around £100 million in its first year after publishing the findings of a study. 

The research conducted by the Transport Research Institute (TRI) at Edinburgh Napier University, in conjunction with Public Health Wales, estimates a new default 20mph speed limit on residential roads across Wales will save around £100m in the first year alone. The estimated cost saving is the direct result of fewer deaths and injuries.

Setting up the scheme is expected to cost £32.3m, mostly for 30,000 replacement signs, 5,000 posts and new road markings.

But a regulatory impact assessment (RIA) commissioned by the Welsh Government in June showed the total dis-benefit, before savings, could reach £6.4bn over the next 30 years.

READ MORE: Flintshire residents to be consulted on 20mph roads

The RIA states that the main economic dis-benefit relates to increased journey times from lower average vehicle speeds. This dis-benefit is split between households commuting and travelling for leisure activities (£4.7 bn) and potential productivity losses of persons travelling for business reasons (£1.6 bn) e.g. delivery drivers.

Speaking in the Senedd, Sam Rowlands MS, Shadow Minister for Local Government and a strong critic of the project, said: “Last week councillors up and down Wales were sent a letter from Government regarding this scheme, and I quote from the letter: 'It's also estimated this will save Wales around £100 million in the first year alone, three times more than it would cost to introduce this scheme'.

“So, the letter is seeking to highlight a £100 million saving to the public purse. I think it's fair to say it has failed to paint the full financial picture when communicating that with councillors because, indeed, the memorandum on the order states that, overall, an indicative central estimate on the monetised net present value of the policy is calculated to be a negative £4.54 billion—a saving of £100 million to the public purse, perhaps, but a cost of £4,500 million to the economy.”

READ MORE: Wrexham Council leader questions new 20mph law

Mr Rowlands asked the Trefnydd, Lesley Griffiths, for a statement on all of the costing relating to the scheme.

The Minister said she would ask the Deputy Minister for Climate Change to come forward with a written statement on the issue.

Mr Rowlands, who has been supporting Buckley residents who are against the scheme, said: “As I have said previously I am totally against a blanket 20mph speed limit for our towns and extremely concerned about the costs involved.

“I feel introducing 20mph speed limits should be decided by local councils and implemented for specific places, such as outside of schools, hospitals and care homes."

READ MORE: Petition against 20mph speed change nears 50000 mark

He added: “Our local authorities are facing extremely challenging times at the moment and I echo the sentiment of Wrexham County Borough Council Leader, Cllr Mark Pritchard, who recently called for this particular scheme to be put back so the funding can be used for public services.

“It is totally irresponsible for the Welsh Labour Government to be considering spending millions to implement a scheme which largely nobody wants."

"Ministers should be spending that money on tackling the big issues facing Wales and helping our local councils keep services running for the public.”