ONE OF the key people behind Spain's speed limit change has attempted to ease Welsh people's fears over the impending 20mph change.

As of this coming Sunday (September 17), most 30mph speed limits in Wales are changing to 20mph.

This will make Wales one of the world’s first countries to have a default 20mph limit. 

This is, according to the Welsh Government, to 'keep our communities safer and improve quality of life'.

In the lead up to the introduction of Welsh Government’s new legislation for 20mph speed limits, eight communities across Wales were selected for the first phase of the national programme. ‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌​

As part of this Phase One Settlement Scheme, 20mph speed restrictions were introduced in Buckley, Mynydd Isa, New Brighton, Drury, Burntwood, Bryn y Baal and Alltami on February 28, 2022.

And, although generally in favour of 20mph on residential estates and around schools, hundreds of residents expressed concerns about its introduction on main roads and streets.

This week, one of the key people behind Spain's change to a 30km/h (18.6mph) has sent a message to the people of Wales.

Álvaro Gómez is head of the National Road Safety Observatory in Spain and played a key part when the country changed the speed limit on the majority of its roads to 30km/h in 2019.

Since then, Spain has reported 20% fewer urban road deaths, with fatalities reduced by 34 per cent for cyclists and 24 per cent for pedestrians.

Mr Gómez recorded the message just days before Welsh streets that currently have a 30mph speed limit switch to 20mph.

The move, that has been described as the ‘biggest step-change in community safety in a generation’ comes into force this Sunday (September 17).

Mr Gómez said: "The main target for us was to reduce the number of serious and fatal incidents in Spanish cities.

"Eight out of ten fatalities in cities are vulnerable road users and this includes pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and e-scooter users.

"Speed is key to reducing risk. We have an older population in Spain and we were concerned about the number of pedestrians who were killed or seriously injured in road accidents.

"We didn’t have any serious incidents with local authorities over implementation. It all went well. Spanish drivers and road users and cyclists and pedestrians are very comfortable with the new limit.

"The main message to people of Wales is that you can do it.

"There will be some fears beforehand but our experience and the experience of other cities across the world is that once it is done things become normal quickly.


"There are no big delays, there is no congestion there is no increase of pollution. Everything becomes normal, and everything gets better."

According to the Welsh Government, the change in Wales comes after four years of work with local authorities, police and road safety experts to design a change in law, making Wales the first UK nation to reset the default speed limit for local roads.

They say that research shows the 20mph default speed limit could save £92m a year by reducing the number of deaths and injuries. It could also help to reduce pressure on the NHS from a reduction in injuries from road traffic collisions.

Over the first decade, it is estimated a lower speed limit will save up to 100 lives and 20,000 casualties.