Introduction of 20mph speed limit
Following a law passed by the Welsh Government, the speed limit on restricted roads in Wales has reduced from 30mph to 20mph.
Councils had very limited discretion to maintain a number of urban roads at 30mph where those roads meet specific criteria set out by Welsh Government. Councils could apply exemptions but they could not change the criteria set out by the Welsh Government.
You can see a list of roads in Swansea which have been exempted from the 20mph limit here: Proposed traffic regulation order - various roads speed limit order
You can also find a map with the exemptions to the 20mph speed limit in Swansea at https://datamap.gov.wales/maps/roads-affected-by-changes-to-the-speed-limit-on-re/
Frequently asked questions
Why has a 20mph speed limit been introduced?
Evidence shows that lower speeds result in fewer collisions and a reduced severity of injuries.
Pedestrians are five times more likely to be killed if hit by a vehicle driven at 30mph compared to 20mph.
As well as the safety benefits, 20mph zones improve air quality, reduce noise pollution and can result in healthier lifestyles by encouraging more walking and cycling in communities. Roads will be safer and shared more equally between different road users.
Who made the decision?
The Welsh Government passed a law in 2022 to introduce 20mph as the default speed limit. Councils have not made the decision and cannot change the decision, but they are implementing the changes by amending existing signage and introducing new signage.
You can find out more about the reasons behind the Welsh Government 20mph law at their website here: Introducing 20mph speed limits: frequently asked questions | GOV.WALES and Safer at 20mph: Let's look out for each other | GOV.WALES
When did the changes start?
The Welsh Government-initiated changeover from 30mph to 20mph took place on 17 September, 2023. It means that if you are driving in an area where there are street lights then the speed limit is 20mph unless there is signage stating a different speed.
What do I need to do?
Now the rules have been introduced, you will need to observe the new speed limits.
What about roads which had a 20mph limit in the past? Have there been any changes to them?
20mph limits have been in place in Swansea for a number of years, including traffic calming areas around schools, busy shopping streets and in some residential areas such as Sandfields, near the city centre. The experience of these areas demonstrated the benefits to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists of reduced speeds enabling safer streets.
What about roads where the speed limit was 40mph or above. Have they changed?
No. Generally speed limits on major arterial roads which were previously set at 40mph or above have not changed.
Is there a blanket requirement for motorists to drive at 20mph in Swansea?
Where will the exceptions to the 20mph limit be in Swansea?
There are a small number of roads in Swansea that are currently set to a speed limit of 30mph which have remained at that limit after 17 September. Among them are 30mph sections of arterial roads like Fabian Way, Oystermouth Road and Carmarthen Road.
You can find out more about the rules set out by the Welsh Government about exceptions which councils in Wales can apply to maintain 30mph roads at their current limit at this link: www.gov.wales/setting-local-speed-limits
Who is paying for the changes? Is it coming from my council tax?
In Swansea, as elsewhere, the work needed to implement the changes is being done by local authorities. Councils in Wales are expecting the Welsh Government to pay for the work through grants to local authorities. In Swansea the cost of implementing the change is expected to be in the region of £3m.
Is there more information on the 20mph rules?
Yes, the Welsh Government has a web page here: Introducing 20mph speed limits: frequently asked questions | GOV.WALES
Who will be responsible for enforcement of the new 20mph rules?
As with all speed enforcement issues, Go Safe Wales will be responsible for enforcing the rules.
As always, any money generated from the proceeds of fines or prosecutions goes to the Welsh Government. None of the proceeds of speeding fines goes to Swansea Council or any other local authority.
You can find out more about Go Safe's work on gosafe.org
If I want further information or want to report issues about signage, who should I contact for advice?
If you spot issues or concerns with signage or you need more information about your area, please let the team know and they will respond: Report a problem with 20mph speed limit signs