Thursday, 5 November 2009

New guidance on appropriate speed limits

Local authorities are being encouraged to review their speed limits in new guidance published by the Welsh Assembly Government today.

The guidance covers 20 mph zones, speed limits on urban and rural roads, particularly through communities and aims to ensure all limits are appropriate for their locations.

Deputy First Minister and the Minister for the Economy and Transport, Ieuan Wyn Jones, said that local speed limits are a crucial tool in improving road safety and reducing casualties.

Speaking at Ysgol Christchurch in Rhyl, which has benefited from a new 20mph zone funded through the Assembly Government’s Safe Routes in the Community scheme, Mr Jones recommended that local authorities use the guidance to review all their local speed limits and implement changes by the end of 2014.

He said:

"The Welsh Assembly Government is committed to reducing road traffic collisions and injuries, and developing safer environments for all road users,

"Speed limits play a fundamental role in effective speed management to encourage, help and require road users to adopt appropriate and safe speeds.

"We hope local authorities will use this guidance when considering if current limits are appropriate. It is important that highway authorities and the police work together in determining, or considering, any changes to speed limits. Neighbouring highway authorities should also work together to ensure consistency of speed limits, especially where roads cross boundaries."

Mr Jones added:

"Speed limits are, however, only one element of speed management. Ideally local speed limits should be part of a package of measures to manage speeds. For example this could include engineering, landscaping, enforcement, education, driver information, training, and publicity work.

"Increasing the use of 20mph limits across Wales is a One Wales commitment. Currently there are 481 20mph limits or zones in Wales which have risen steadily in the recent years thanks to Assembly Government funding. Studies have shown that 20mph schemes can improve safety and we would encourage local authorities to consider implementing more of these where appropriate."

A large sample of those 20mph schemes are currently being analysed with a view to providing additional information on their effectiveness, together with case studies to demonstrate good practice.

The guidance also contains advice to local authorities on setting speed limits in urban and rural areas. For example on rural roads the document generally encourages 30mph in villages and communities but emphasises that each speed limit should be assessed on a case by case basis.

The guidelines are being published in advance of a new national road safety strategy. This will incorporate casualty reduction targets for beyond 2010 and may be accompanied by additional speed management advice.


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