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Wales’ 20mph speed limit now in force amid much controversy



FROM Today (Sunday, Sept 17), the vast majority of residential roads across Wales will see a new speed limit of 20mph, a decision that has sparked extensive debate.

The Labour-led Welsh government has championed this initiative, suggesting that this would lead to a significant reduction in road accidents, saving both lives and NHS resources. They also believe such a move will make communities more pleasant to inhabit and work.

However, the decision has its critics. The Conservative party warns that the new limit could adversely impact the Welsh economy to the tune of billions. Natasha Asghar, the Welsh shadow transport minister, has branded the rollout as “madcap” and “ludicrous”, sentiments echoed by Penny Mordaunt, the leader of the House of Commons.

The RAC has issued a warning to drivers to be extra vigilant, especially this Sunday. Simon Williams, the motoring group’s head of policy, has highlighted potential pitfalls in satnav systems which may not reflect the recent updates.

Welsh Labour’s commitment to this policy can be traced back to their manifesto during the 2021 Senedd election. Despite the popularity of the party during the elections, a recent petition opposing the 20mph limit has amassed 70,000 signatures. There have also been incidents of newly erected 20mph signs being vandalised throughout the region.

Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford, acknowledges the controversy, stating that there will be a “period of turbulence” post-implementation. However, he remains confident that the public will eventually see the value and logic behind the policy.

What’s Driving the Change? Globally, evidence suggests that lowering speed limits can result in a significant reduction in collisions. The Welsh government projects a potential decrease of 40% in collisions, saving up to 10 lives and preventing up to 2,000 injuries annually. The transition aims to encourage walking and cycling, which would in turn, reduce car pollution.

Which Areas are Affected? Primarily, roads that currently have a 30mph limit will see the change to 20mph. However, local authorities retain the discretion to keep certain roads at the current speed limit.

The Economic Debate While opponents cite a staggering £4.5bn potential economic loss from the scheme, this figure, sourced from a Welsh government report, spans over 30 years. The Welsh government emphasises that the cost of rolling out the 20mph limit is £32m, which could be swiftly offset by saving the NHS an estimated £92m annually.

Trials and Reactions Eight trial areas saw varied responses. In St Brides Major, south Wales, the results seem positive. Yet, in Buckley, north Wales, there has been substantial opposition.

Enforcement Measures The police will primarily enforce the new speed limit. Interestingly, there will also be involvement from the firefighters’ road safety team, though this decision hasn’t been without its criticisms.

A Global Trend? Spain saw the introduction of a similar limit in 2021, which led to a 13% decrease in pedestrian deaths in specific areas. Despite some opposition in the UK, many British cities have adopted 20mph zones. Notably, Portsmouth, represented by Penny Mordaunt, was among the pioneers of this movement.

For now, the eyes of the UK will be on Wales, watching the outcomes and possible ripple effects of this decisive move.


Living Streets Cymru, part of the UK charity for everyday walking, is celebrating new legislation to reduce speed limits in Wales.

From today (17 September 2023), Wales will become the first UK nation to adopt a 20mph default speed limit on residential streets.

The new legislation means that most roads that currently operate as 30mph areas will reduce to 20mph. It is estimated that the move will save 6-10 lives every year, result in 40% fewer collisions and prevent up to 2,000 people being injured.

Research shows that setting the default speed limit at 20mph in residential roads in Wales will reduce pressure on the NHS from a reduction in injuries from road traffic collisions and save £92m each year.

In 2019, Spain reduced the speed limit to 30km/h (18.64mph) on the majority of its roads. Since then, there have been 20% fewer urban road deaths, with fatalities reduced by 34% for cyclists and 24% for pedestrians.

Stephen Edwards, Chief Executive, Living Streets said: “Introducing 20mph as the default speed on our residential streets will improve the places where we live, work and go to school.

“When someone is hit at 30mph, they are around five times more likely to be killed than if they were hit at 20mph. This is, quite literally, life-changing legislation.

“We will continue to work with Welsh Government to ensure that our streets and pavements are safe and accessible for everyone in our communities.”

Reducing speed limits will make it safer for more people in Wales to walk and cycle for short journeys, and as a result, reduce car use, congestion and air pollution.

In a recent survey, one in three Welsh adults said that 20mph speed limits would increase their likelihood of walking more often.

Data from WOW – the walk to school challenge from Living Streets – reported that schools in pilot 20mph areas have seen a 39% increase in active travel journeys (25 versus 18 percentage point increase) compared to schools predominantly in 30mph areas. Children also reported feeling much safer on their journey to and from school each day.

Living Streets Cymru is a member organisation of the 20mph Welsh Government Task Force Group, which provided evidence to support the 20mph restriction. In 1934, Living Streets (then called the Pedestrians Association) successfully advocated for the introduction of the 30mph limit.


Sustrans Cymru said it welcomes the new legislation from Welsh Government that will make 20mph the default speed limit on restricted roads.

Speaking on the importance and impact of the landmark change, Christine Boston, Director of Sustrans Cymru, said: “Today, Wales takes a huge step forward as a country that prioritises the safety and quality of life of its people.

“By introducing 20mph as the new default speed limit on restricted roads, Wales’ streets will be safer and healthier places.

“This is the biggest safety change of a generation.

“The strongest and most obvious case for the 20mph default speed limit, simply, is that it will save lives.

“To disagree or disregard that is to accept death and injury as a standard – we want better for the people of Wales, which is why Sustrans wholly supports 20mph default speed limits.

“Lower speeds reduce the number of collisions due to shorter stopping distances and lessen the severity of injuries where collisions take place.

“Putting safety to one side, though, we strongly believe that 20mph default limits will foster stronger communities through calmer, safer, and friendlier streets.

“There will be fewer communities in Wales severed by fast roads, fewer streets where parents fear for their children to play, and fewer people put off from getting to essential local services.

“People in Wales have always had a strong sense of community and solidarity.

“We believe this will only be strengthened with less pollution and less danger on the roads in our communities across Wales.

“We believe 20mph will encourage all those things we know to be good.

“This is why we campaign for active travel, this is why we campaign for happier and healthier places to live, and this is why we support default 20mph speed limits on restricted roads.”

Natasha Asghar MS

Commenting on the Labour Government’s blanket 20mph speed limit being introduced, Welsh Conservative Shadow Transport Minister, Natasha Asghar MS said: “The Labour Government’s blanket 20mph speed limit coming into force today will cost the Welsh economy up to £8.9 billion, slow down our emergency services, and negatively impact people’s livelihoods.

“Sadly, with the Labour Deputy Minister refusing to rule out further speed limit changes, along with the Labour Government’s road building ban and the introduction of road charging, Labour continue to wage their anti-worker, anti-road and anti-motorist agenda.

“Only the Welsh Conservatives are standing up for our motorists and focusing on the people’s priorities.”


The Welsh Government recently released a Press Release stating the following: “We recently became the first UK nation to pass legislation to lower the default national speed limit on residential roads and busy pedestrian streets from 30mph to 20mph when the Senedd voted in favour in July this year. Work is now underway to get Wales ready for that change, as limits will begin to change from September next year.

Here are seven things you may not know about the new 20mph default speed limit:

  1. Will it improve safety?

Yes, and the evidence is clear. Decreasing speed limits reduces collisions and saves lives. Previous research has shown that there are 40% fewer collisions in areas with 20mph compared with 30mph. In Wales, it has been estimated that with widespread introduction of 20mph, somewhere between 6 to 10 lives would be saved and between 1200 and 2000 casualties avoided each year. The value of preventing these casualties is between £58m and £94m each year.

As well as making collisions less severe when they do happen, the slower speed also increases the chances of avoiding a collision in the first place and reducing the burden on the NHS. Prevention is better than cure!

2. Will it improve the environment and help create safer communities?

Whatever car you have, getting to 30mph requires more than twice as much energy as getting to 20mph. In fact, evidence suggests that as a result of smoother driving styles, reducing braking and acceleration, improved traffic flow, and possible reductions in fuel consumption, 20mph produces less air pollution than 30mph.

People surveyed say that traffic speed is a barrier to walking and cycling for short journeys, so by lowering the speed limit, we’re helping to create safer, quieter, and more pleasant environments where people feel safer to walk and cycle, further reducing air pollution and benefiting people’s health and the local economy. Welsh communities will become better places to live.

3. Do people support it?

People living in communities where 20mph is already the default speed limit are positive about the change. Evidence from a survey conducted on behalf of the Welsh Government showed that the majority of people were in support of the new lower speed limit – almost two thirds of people surveyed said they would support a speed limit of 20mph in the area they live and 55% saying that ‘streets would be a lot nicer for pedestrians with a 20mph speed limit’. 62% of people also said they wanted ‘drivers to slow down a bit on our roads’.

4. Will people observe the limit?

The 30mph speed limit for residential areas was set before World War II, when there were far fewer cars on the roads and speed limits were set without the wealth of research and data that we have now. Research indicates that the vast majority of drivers observe speed limits on residential streets.

5. Is it a blanket approach?

No. Currently 30mph is the default speed limit for streets with street lighting, but there are variations to that limit marked by signs on the road. In the same way, under the new 20mph legislation, local councils can use their local knowledge to retain a 30mph limit where there is a case for doing so. These 30mph roads will be marked by signs in the same way that variations from the current default speed limit are used.

6. Who else is doing this?

The benefits of reducing speeds are becoming recognised all over the world. 120 countries recently signed the Stockholm Declaration on Road Safety, agreeing that reducing the speed limit to  20mph will improve road safety. In 2021 Spain set speed limits in urban streets to 30km/h (equivalent to 20mph) and now other European countries have 30km/h limits for most of their local roads. Closer to home, areas like central London, the Scottish Borders, Lancashire and Cheshire and Chester have made 20mph the default speed limit for residential streets.

7. When will it come into force?

The new 20mph default speed limit came into force in September 2023. This will arguably be the biggest change to Welsh roads since the wearing of seatbelts was made compulsory in 1983. It is a big change, but like wearing a seat belt, adapting your driving to the new speed limit will become as natural as driving at 30mph is now!


Wales embarks on floating wind energy venture with £180,000 commitment



OFFSHORE RENEWABLE ENERGY (ORE) Catapult, in association with Floventis Energy, is set to boost the floating offshore wind sector in Wales. The partnership aims to prepare Welsh businesses for this rapidly growing industry.

This initiative, termed the Fit 4 Offshore Renewables (F4OR) programme, is tailored exclusively to propel the floating wind market in Wales. It marks the debut of such an initiative in the region, reflecting the nation’s progressive stance on renewable energy.

The joint venture sees a promising £180,000 committed by Floventis Energy towards the 12-18 month floating wind specific development scheme. Welsh businesses are set to benefit extensively with unique access to the team developing Llŷr 1 and 2 in the Celtic Sea. This, in combination with the forthcoming Celtic Sea Round 5 projects, promises lucrative prospects for local ventures.

Vaughan Gething, Wales’ Economy Minister, expressed his enthusiasm: “The offshore wind sector has an incredible potential for our economy and its people. By bolstering the awareness of Welsh firms, we aim to pave the way for them to harness the opportunities of the green future.”

The programme, commencing in 2024, will kick-start with an initial group of three companies. Since its inception in 2019, the F4OR initiative has flourished across the UK, boasting five successful regional programmes and aiding over 100 companies. Many of these beneficiaries have seen a significant surge in their turnovers.

Andrew Macdonald from ORE Catapult commented on the potential of the sector: “Our goal is to ensure a top-tier supply chain developed in the UK, ready to cater to the world. With the proven success of F4OR in other parts, we’re eager to tap into the vast opportunities that Wales, particularly in floating wind energy, presents.”

The Celtic Sea in Wales is poised to be a frontrunner in the UK’s net-zero ambition, targeting a deployment of 4GW of floating wind by 2035. Early estimates suggest the potential creation of over 3,000 jobs, injecting a staggering £682 million into the supply chain of Wales and Cornwall by 2030.

Cian Conroy of Floventis Energy, noting the importance of the programme, stated: “Initiatives like F4OR, in tandem with projects such as Llŷr, are vital for building a robust industry. Our end goal is to fortify the UK’s offshore renewable energy supply chain, both domestically and on the global stage.”

Applications for the programme are open for firms employing over ten individuals and boasting turnovers exceeding £1 million, provided they cater to the offshore wind sector. Interested companies can apply at F4OR – ORE ( by 10 November.

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Pembrokeshire identified as having too many empty properties



PEMBROKESHIRE has been identified as the third major empty home hotspot in the UK.

The recent study on the UK’s housing market, conducted by Alan Boswell Landlord Building Insurance, disclosed a startling fact – the country has 4,331 vacant properties. This figure contradicts the popular belief of a fully occupied UK property market, especially given the weighty 5.1% rise in rent over the last year.

Gwynedd, in north-west Wales, tops the list with a staggering 5,286 vacant properties per 100,000 residents, an actual number amounting to 6,204. Surprisingly, a significant 77% of these are second homes or holiday residences. This has consequently resulted in escalating house prices, pushing the average up to £136,095.

Following closely is Argyll and Bute, which, with its historical splendour and breathtaking vistas, now has 4,887 empty homes per 100,000 people. This makes up over 10% of the area’s households. Furthermore, to address the increasing number of vacant properties, the Scottish Government has augmented The Additional Dwelling Supplement (ADS) to 6% of the property purchase price for individuals who already possess one or more residential properties, anywhere in the world.

However, it’s Pembrokeshire’s standing at third place that’s turning heads. Despite its reputation as a sanctuary for nature and history aficionados, the county is grappling with a surge of holiday-home ownership. A vast 74% of its vacant properties are owned by individuals possessing second homes. The data indicates 4,331 empty homes for every 100,000 individuals in the county, summing up to 5,346 overall.

Concluding the top five are the Isle of Anglesey and Ceredigion, both in Wales, with 3,752 and 3,595 vacant properties per 100,000 residents, respectively.

This overwhelming number of vacant homes across these areas not only affects the local housing market but also impacts the native residents, many of whom find it increasingly challenging to own a home in their own community.

Methodology: The analysis used government data, StatsWales website information, and the Scottish Government’s figures. Data utilised spanned from 2021 to 2023, considering population and house price figures.

More info here

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Pembrokeshire restaurant fined for employing illegal workers



A PEMBROKESHIRE-BASED restaurant, Panache Indian, located on Queen Street, Pembroke Dock, has been slapped with a hefty fine after being found guilty of employing illegal workers over the past year.

The authorities acted on intelligence provided to the UK government, leading to raids at the Panache establishment earlier this year. Investigations uncovered that several staff members employed there had no legal right to either reside or work in the UK. The exact number of illegal workers discovered on the premises has not been disclosed.

As a consequence of these findings, the restaurant, owned and managed by Fahinoor Rahman, has been penalised with a fine amounting to £30,000.

Furthermore, Panache Restaurant now features in the Government’s quarterly report, which lists companies penalised for the use of illegal workers. This data is publicly released by the Home Office four times annually, with the most recent data spanning from January 1 to March 31, 2023.

The UK government underscores the severe repercussions awaiting companies or individuals found employing those without the right to work or live in the UK. According to, guilty parties could face up to five years imprisonment, alongside an unlimited fine, particularly if they knowingly or had ‘reasonable cause to believe’ they were employing individuals without the right to work in the UK.

This category comprises:

  • Individuals lacking the leave (permission) to enter or stay in the UK.
  • Those whose permission to stay has expired.
  • Individuals restricted from certain job roles.
  • Persons providing incorrect or fraudulent information.
  • In a related incident, the Nehar Indian Restaurant in Lampeter, owned by Ruhul Amin Choudhury, has also been penalised with a £20,000 fine for employing illegal workers.
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