Organisation: Welsh Government
Date of Publication: March 2022
Uploaded to Knowledge Centre: 15 June 2022
Wales is not alone in moving towards 20mph in place of 30mph limits within settlements where people outside of vehicles are vulnerable as a consequence of vehicle speed. Momentum towards 20mph speed limits in both urban and rural settings is increasing in many places across the world, including in Scotland, where it will become the default in place of 30mph by 2025.
A public consultation was launched by the Welsh Government in July 2021 to seek views on the proposal to reduce speed limits to 20mph. The consultation ran until the end of September 2021 and was available online and in printed form. 6,018 online responses were received by the Welsh Government in the consultation period. After the removal of 447 duplicate responses and the integration of an additional 36 paper responses (including 10 from organisations), a total of 5,607 responses were analysed.
When asked in the consultation for their views on the Welsh Government proposal to reduce the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph on restricted roads, slightly more of those responding were opposed to the idea than in favour. 53% of consultation respondents said they were against 20mph (47% ‘strongly against’ and 6% ‘slightly against’), while 47% were in favour (41% ‘strongly in favour’ and 6% ‘slightly in favour’).
The consultation results are quite different from the findings of the public opinion survey. In the Wales Omnibus survey, over eight in 10 of the public (81%) supported a reduction in the speed limit to 20mph and fewer than two in 10 (17%) were against. The difference is likely to be the result of the different sampling approaches for each exercise – the sample for the public consultation was self-selecting, while the opinion survey sample was structured to be representative of the general population, thus minimising self-selection bias.
In the qualitative research, participants in two of the three pilot areas covered were very much in favour of the default 20mph speed limit introduction in their community, while reaction was more mixed in the third area where the speed limit had been reduced more recently. Regardless of opinion on the new 20mph speed limit, however, focus group participants agreed it was essential to control vehicle speeds in residential areas and almost all wanted to keep the 20mph speed limit on their street going forward.
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