Reducing speed limit to 20mph on restricted roads, Wales - consultation response

In August 2021, we responded to the Welsh Government’s consultation to propose to reduce the speed limit to 20mph on residential streets. We support this proposal as this will ensure that essential action will be taken to provide safer environments for children and young people to walk, play and travel.

The Wales 20mph Taskforce Group published a report in October 2020, which made recommendations for the rollout of the 20mph default national speed limit on restricted roads.  The purpose of this consultation was for Welsh Government to seek information and evidence about the proposals. 

Our response

We drew evidence from the RCPCH State of Child Health data and recommendations on adolescent mortality and road traffic accidents, and the specific policy recommendations for Wales (see pages 13 and 19).

  • We support the proposed reduction in the default speed limit on residential streets in Wales from 30mph to 20mph to enhance road safety. 
  • Implementing 20mph limits in built up areas is something that the RCPCH has called for as a measure to reduce accidents and as one component of the Healthy Weight Healthy Wales package of measures to tackle childhood obesity through promoting physical activity.
  • The proposed bill will have an immediate beneficial impact on the health of children and young people, creating safer places to walk, cycle and play, and reducing fatal and non-fatal injuries.
  • Our State of Child Health report tells us that accident prevention requires different interventions for different age groups. For older age groups, risky behaviours such as driving and involvement in violent activity each contribute to serious and fatal injuries. 
  • Globally, road traffic accidents are a leading cause of death among young people, but rates in the UK are lower than comparable high-income countries. We welcome Welsh Government’s target to reduce 40% of the number of young people killed or seriously injured on Welsh roads, as outlined within The Road Safety Framework.
  • Road traffic injuries are a major cause of preventable death. In 2017, the rate of fatal or serious road traffic accidents was 47.7 per 100,000 young people aged 17-19 years in Wales, compared to 37.7 per 100,000 in England and 36.4 per 100,000 in Scotland.

Our recommendations

  • We support Welsh Government’s commitments within ‘Healthy Weight, Healthy Wales’ to expand 20mph zones and increase the number of pedestrian and cycle routes, which will provide safer environments for children and young people to walk, play and travel. Welsh Government should implement these changes within the first two-year phase, as outlined in the delivery plan.
  • We welcome the Active Travel Act (Wales), but in order for the Act to be successful in increasing the number of school pupils walking or cycling to school, Welsh Government should meet the recommendations outlined by the Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee 2018 report on the Act.

We respond to a wide range of consultations to ensure that the College’s position, and ultimately children’s health, is represented. Members can get involved in current consultations by contacting the Wales Team on