By Lesley Griffiths

MS for Wrexham

The major story from the past few weeks has been the introduction of a default 20mph speed limit, which came into effect across Wales on 17 September.

I have been contacted by people who are in support of the new limit as well as those who are against.

Contrary to popular belief, this is not an overnight proposal, however, I recognise it is a major change. The evidence from around the world is very clear – lowering speed limits reduces collisions and saves lives. It is estimated to save up to 100 lives in its first decade and help avoid 20,000 casualties. As well as saving lives, this policy will help ensure our communities are stronger, safer and better places to live.

According to, 28 million people in the UK now live in Local Authorities which implement 20mph speed limits. Scotland is following Wales’ lead, committing to making 20mph the norm nationally by 2025 and many communities in England already have 20mph, such as Norwich, Tonbridge and Chichester.

The political discourse surrounding the 20mph policy has been deeply disappointing and some of the mistruths constantly repeated by political opponents has stoked the fires and certainly not helped matters.

This is not a blanket speed limit. Roads not already limited to 30mph are not affected and Local Authorities, who know their roads best, have the power to make further exemptions. These exemptions will typically be on less built-up streets and where people walking and cycling do not need to share space with motor traffic. Local Authorities are expected to review the roads with a 20mph speed limit and should they feel it necessary, the speed limit can be increased again.

Before the new speed limit came into effect, I understand Wrexham County Borough Council identified 10 roads that have retained a 30mph limit, equating to just over 1% of the eligible roads in the County Borough. Other Local Authorities in Wales, such as Cardiff and Neath Port Talbot, have retained a 30mph limit on nearer 5% of their roads, whereas Swansea and Bridgend have exempt over 10%.

The change in the law is still in its infancy but Local Authorities should continually monitor the situation. I have written to the Leader of Wrexham Council asking how the Local Authority is observing and analysing the impact of the new limit across the Borough and whether he envisions any further exemptions will be announced in future. I will, of course, keep constituents updated.

If you’re a constituent in Wrexham and there is something I could help you with, please do not hesitate to contact me via email: or call 01978 355743.