Tensions rose during a recent Senedd session, as South Wales East member Natasha Asghar and Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters exchanged words over the upcoming roll-out of 20mph speed limits. The heated discussion covered concerns from businesses, the cost of the project, and the potential impact on the Welsh economy.
Ms Asghar began by questioning Waters about the conversations he has had with businesses about the new speed limits. Waters responded that organisations representing businesses were invited to participate in the Wales 20mph taskforce group and have continued to engage with officials.
Ms Asghar then pressed the issue, stating that some businesses in her region are concerned about the impact of the 20mph limits on their trade, and that the scheme is expected to cost the Welsh economy £4.5 billion. Waters countered that the cost of implementation will be repaid threefold in the first year alone, thanks to savings in the NHS resulting from reduced road casualties and fatalities.
Ms Asghar brought up Waters' own transportation habits, claiming he has used ministerial cars for short trips and submitted few claims for rail tickets. Mr Waters defended himself, stating that he has reduced his car usage and now travels by bike and train when possible. He also noted the complexities and security considerations involved in a Minister's role, which can make public transport impractical.