WAES’ new transport secretary has confirmed a change of course on the controversial 20mph policy, but continues to face calls to scrap the default speed limit completely.

Ken Skates told the Senedd the 20mph policy will be targeted at schools, hospitals, nurseries, community centres, play areas and built-up residential areas.

Mr Skates said the Welsh Government will revise guidance on exceptions by the summer, with work to adjust speed limits expected to begin from September.

In response to councils’ concerns about costs, such as for swapping signs, he confirmed the Welsh Government will foot the bill for reverting roads back to 30mph.

Mr Skates said: “What I am doing now is listening to what people want for the roads in their communities and pressing ahead with refining the policy.”

The newly appointed cabinet secretary for north Wales and transport committed to listening to people to get the “right speed on the right roads”.

He said: “Ultimately, the degree of change in each of our 22 local authority areas will not be determined by me and the Welsh Government but by the public and councils.”

Mr Skates encouraged people to contact their local council via the Welsh Government’s website to have their say about where 20mph should be targeted.

He added that an external review of the 20mph policy will be published in the next few weeks.

Ken Skates
Ken Skates addressing the Senedd on Tuesday (Senedd TV)

Mr Skates, who replaced Lee Waters, told the chamber new roads will be built and existing ones improved, with the network better designed to accommodate bus priority lanes.

Nearly half a million people signed a record-breaking Senedd petition, calling for the “disastrous” 20mph policy, which came into force in September, to be scrapped.

Pointing out that 20mph will remain the default, South Wales east MS Natasha Asghar, the Conservatives’ shadow transport secretary, also called for the “daft, divisive and destructive” law to be abandoned.

She said: “It is clear from the rhetoric that the Welsh Government has finally cottoned on to the fact that the 20mph policy has been a complete shambles.”

She urged the Welsh Government to go further by making 30mph the default speed limit with exceptions made for 20mph, rather than the other way around.