20mph speed limit roads may be scrapped after just three months after huge driver backlash

UK motorways: Highways England warns drivers of speed limits

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The stretches of road in the Welsh town of Caldicot were introduced three months ago but could now return to a 30mph speed limit following a pilot scheme. Monmouthshire Council said the U-turn was made after residents raised concerns that the new speed limits were making congestion in the town worse.

Legislation was introduced last month in Wales, meaning 20mph will be the default limit in all built-up areas from August 2023.

The new speed limits between Woodstock Way and the Mitel roundabout and from there to Portskewett were brought in on May 18.

The council said the section from Woodstock Way to the Mitel roundabout would continue to be a 20mph zone during school pick-up and drop-off times.

Reacting to the news, Alex Kindred, car insurance expert at Confused.com, said: “The safety of road users and pedestrians is very important. 

“Our research shows that almost four in five (79 percent) drivers admit to having broken the speed limit at some point. 

“Although some motorists might feel that speed limits are an inconvenience, they’re there to ensure our roads are safe for all – particularly in areas with narrow roads, schools, and hospitals.

“Despite drivers thinking that reduced speed limits are causing more congestion on the road, these types of areas see a lot of pedestrians and cars at peak times and new speed limits have been put in place to make sure everyone’s safety is considered first. 

“With lower speed limits we need to be mindful of our speed to help keep roads safe and avoid any fines. 

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“Speeding fines are often calculated depending on how far over the limit you are.”

As part of the Welsh plans, roads that are not capped at 20mph will be assessed to determine whether they should be.

With a 20mph limit, stopping distances are much shorter with six metres of thinking distance and six metres of braking distance.

This is almost doubled when travelling at 30mph, with 14 metres of braking distance alone.

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So far, more than 40,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Welsh Government to scrap the new legislation.

Daniel Thompson, of Caldicot’s Danny T’s Taxis, criticised the initial move to the 20mph roads, saying it was “unnecessary”.

Speaking to BBC, he said: “The issue is not with the 20mph, but more the 20mph on a bypass road.

“The B4245 from Magor through to Portskewett is over seven miles long, and to drive at 20mph is adding a lot more time on journeys.

“Driving a vehicle in a lower gear at lower speeds is using more fuel and is not doing your engine any good.”

He suggested that the speed limits should be implemented by schools or side streets, but not on a bypass.

Wales is not the only region to implement the changes, with Witney in Oxfordshire expected to slash its speed limits soon.

It is the first town to take advantage of Oxfordshire County Council’s new £8million programme to create safer, healthier, and quieter streets.

The county council has been inundated with requests from towns and villages to bring in 20mph zones since it launched the policy in February. 

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