Agenda item

Agenda item


To consider a report by the Traffic, Parking and Road Safety Manager (copy enclosed) which details the principles behind the default 20mph limit, the criteria for making exceptions to the default limit and seeks the Committee’s observations on the work undertaken to date in preparation for its implementation.


11am – 11.30am



The Lead Member for Environment and Transport, Councillor Barry Mellor, alongside the Head of Planning, Public Protection and Countryside Services, the Traffic, Parking and Road Safety Manager (TPRSM) and the Senior Engineer Road Safety and Sustainable Transport (SERSST) introduced the Introduction of 20 mph Speed Limit on the County’s Road Network report (previously circulated).


The report aimed to explain the background to the forthcoming 20 mph limit in towns and villages across Wales, including the Welsh Government’s criteria for identifying exceptions to the default speed limit. The report also provided an overview of the tasks that the Council was required to undertake in preparation for the introduction of the default speed limit on 17 September 2023.


The TPRSM provided some background to the new policy advising that in 2020 the Welsh Government (WG) accepted all 21 of the recommendations made in a report by a Task Force it had commissioned to look at the case for making 20 mph the default speed limit in towns and villages across Wales.  In July 2022, the Senedd passed the main Statutory Instrument to amend Section 81 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1988 as it applied to Wales so that 20 mph will become the mandatory speed limit for ‘restricted roads’.  ‘Restricted Roads’ being roads that have street lights.  This legislative change will come into force on the 17th of September, 2023.


The TPRSM informed the Committee that the WG had developed exception criteria to the default 20moh limit based on the likelihood of “significant numbers of pedestrians and cyclists travelling along or across the road”. To help local authorities make this assessment, it had also developed the following “place criteria”:


(i)    Was the road within 100 metres of a school or other educational establishment?

(ii)  Was the road within 100 metres of a community centre?

(iii) Was the road within 100 metres of a hospital?

(iv) Did residential or retail properties front the road and exceed 20 properties per kilometre of the road (i.e. five or more properties every 250 metres of the road)


The TPRSM then outlined the list of proposed exceptions to the default 20 mph speed limit in Denbighshire, as listed in Appendix C to the report.


During the ensuing discussion:

·         the Committee queried whether the 20mph limit would have to be introduced in Denbighshire, as some members had experience of the trial areas in the Buckley area and were concerned about the impacts the implementation could have. The TPRSM clarified that the change was a legislative change by the WG which Denbighshire was obliged to implement.  As a result of this legislative change almost all of the current 30mph roads in DCC required to be changed to 20mph. The TPRSM stated there would be a significant cost implication if the work was not carried out, as all exemptions agreed post the new default limit’s introduction would require to be funded by the local authority, whilst work relating to the default speed limit’s introduction was funded by WG. The Committee was advised that the objective of the new default speed limit’s implementation was to reduce collisions and serous injuries.  Data highlighted that by reducing speed collisions would be reduced.

·         Officers clarified that policing and enforcement relating to the default speed limit would remain a Police matter when the changes were implemented.

·         the Committee queried what consultation had been carried out in relation to the proposed changes to the speed limit, especially with city, town and community councils. The TPRSM informed the Committee that as the change related to national WG policy, any consultation would have been undertaken by the WG not by local authorities.  Although there were plans in place nationally to run a public information publicity campaign in early 2023 to draw people’s attention to the changes coming into force in September 2023.

·         it was confirmed that Denbighshire already collated data relating to road traffic accidents and speeds on local roads, this work would continue post the introduction of the new default speed limit.

·         Some committee members felt the timing of the proposed changes were unfortunate, particularly given the cost implications during a ‘cost of living crisis’.  It was felt that the money could be spent better elsewhere.  Officers advised that all costs associated with the introduction of the default speed limit were being met by WG through grant funding.

·         Officers clarified to members that play areas would be included in the ‘place criteria’ element of the changes, and therefore 20mph limits would apply.

·         The Committee agreed that it would be beneficial that the introduction of the 20mph speed limits be discussed at each Member Area Group (MAG) to allow members to discuss the issue on a local level and also to inform officers of potential other exemptions which may need to be included to the current list of proposed exemptions.

·         The Committee was concerned about the potential economic impact the introduction of the default speed limit would have throughout Wales, as it would increase delivery times and reduce profit margins across the national economy.  Consequently, they enquired if a local or national economic impact assessment had been undertaken.  Officers advised that as this was a national change it would have been the WG that would have initiated any economic impact assessment.

·         Officers advised that traffic calming measures, such as speed humps, would continue to be considered and utilised where necessary based on road traffic accident data, as such measures were costly to implement.


Following a comprehensive discussion, the Committee –




(i)   subject to the observations made during the discussion and to Member Area Groups (MAGs) being consulted on the exemptions to the default 20 mile per hour speed limit in their area, to receive the contents of the report and appendices; and

(ii)  that the Council’s Economic and Business Development Service be requested to contact the Welsh Government to request a copy of the Economic Impact Assessment undertaken by them in relation to the economic consequences of the proposed implementation of the 20 mile per hour default speed limit in Denbighshire.



Supporting documents: