ADDITIONAL 20 mile per hour limits on roads that weren’t covered by the Welsh Government’s default speed restriction have been welcomed by a senior Conservative councillor.
Richard John, who leads the Conservative group on Monmouthshire County Council, has also said it was his group’s policy – when it ran the authority before the last council elections in May 2022 – to ensure the new lower limit applied to more areas of the county, not just those where Cardiff Bay was mandating its flagship policy that made Wales the first UK nation to lower the 30mph default limit.
In response the council’s current Labour cabinet member for climate change, Cllr Catrin Maby, who has responsibility for highways, said she has a “huge enthusiasm” for speed limits, a subject that has become a political hot potato.
A record number of signatures have been registered on a Senedd petition calling for the limit to be overturned and the Welsh Conservatives have led the charge against it.
Before the new 20mph default speed limit on restricted roads – which are defined as those with lampposts placed not more than 200 yards apart – came into force on September 17 the limit was also introduced at five additional locations in Monmouthshire in August.
Those were on the B4233 at Llanvapley; at Bettws Newydd, Usk; the B4521 at Cross Ash; Great Oak, Bryngwyn and on Old Hereford Road, Pen-Y-Clawdd.
In Llanvapley, between Abergavenny and Monmouth, the lower limit now applies on the road through the village, in Bettws Newydd the road through the village and a number of side roads are covered as will several routes through Great Oak at Bryngwyn.
The council said because the rural villages don’t have street lighting the new default limit didn’t automatically apply and it had consulted with local councillors and residents to bring in 20mph limits.
Cllr John, who was the leader of the council before the Tories lost power, highlighted the work done on lowering speed limits during the most recent meeting of the full council as it considered a “self-evaluation report” of its activities.
The Mitchell Troy and Trellech councillor said he and his ward colleague, Conservative Jayne McKenna, had been able to work with council staff on applying the 20mph limit to more areas than required by the legislation.
He said: “We engaged residents, and officers were very generous with their time in helping us influence speed limit changes in our own rural villages, delivering on the commitment of the previous administration that rural villages would be able to get 20mph zones even if they didn’t meet Welsh Government criteria due to a lack of street lighting.”
Cllr Maby told the council: “I take on board what Cllr John has said and I would love to do more on speed limits and hope we can work together across the county. I’ve discovered a huge enthusiasm for them.”
The Labour Welsh Government has said it will continue to review the impact of the 20mph default limit.