By Sarah Atherton

MP for Wrexham

Over the past few months, many constituents have contacted me to share their concerns about the Welsh Labour Government’s introduction of a default 20mph speed limit on restricted roads (roads in residential or built-up areas) across Wales. Rather than slowing Wales down, Mark Drakeford needs to implement a pro-growth, pro-driver and pro-business transport infrastructure that matches the needs of our growing city.

To gauge residents’ opinion on the policy, I launched a Wrexham Transport Survey. Unsurprisingly, this policy, costing the taxpayer £32 million, was unpopular with residents: 94% of respondents disagreed with the Welsh Government.

In June this year, I made a Freedom of Information request to the Welsh Government for an analysis of the cost to introduce a 20mph speed limit on roads in Wrexham, including an itemised breakdown, i.e., to change signage, road markings, and so on. On the 7th of August – outside the standard 20 working days for an FOI response – and after being chased, the Welsh Government confirmed that this would cost a staggering £361,500.

In addition to highlighting my concerns with the policy, which I feel will unnecessarily slow Wales down, freeze growth rather than encourage it, and risk worsening emergency response times, I have also met with North Wales Police and discussed the operational difficulty of enforcing the policy. Like many residents, I remain deeply concerned by proposals to ask firefighters to enforce speed limits, especially as the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority is currently consulting on the provision of fire service emergency cover for Wrexham. Two of their proposals would see Wrexham lose one out of the two full-time appliances (fire engine) and a reduction in firefighters. I have grave concerns over these proposals.

I have launched a petition to oppose these proposals on my website and have been pleased to see so many people sign and send a strong message that we do not want to see a reduction in Wrexham’s Fire Services. To sign the petition, please click ‘Fire Service Petition’ on my website homepage. I will present this petition as part of the consultation process.

During recess, I had the pleasure to visit some of Wrexham’s growing businesses. To start the week, I visited Platts Agriculture Ltd, a market-leading animal bedding supplier. It was a pleasure to hear about their expansion plans whilst working sustainably.

Later, I visited the Gatewen team to hear about the extensive training opportunities they provide for individuals and businesses across North Wales. A particular highlight was hearing from two female truck drivers who trained at Gatewen and then moved onto Dromgoole and Sons. They are both excelling and showing newcomers how it’s done! I fully support these efforts to encourage women to enter the industry. A shining example of Wrexham supporting Wrexham.

Lastly, it was great to catch up with Sam, the owner of The Lemon Tree, Restaurant with Rooms, Wrexham. During the visit, we discussed the importance of having a good team and how the current rise in tourism far exceeds pre-Covid levels. With all of the businesses this week, we talked about how we can all work together to capitalise on the buzz around Wrexham. Exciting times are ahead.

If you are a Wrexham resident in the current Wrexham constituency boundary and need my help with any issue, please don’t hesitate to contact me by emailing