Some Wales 20mph areas are frankly bonkers, admits Labour MP in BBC QT clash

Chris Bryant MP on Wales’ 20mph speed limit

A Labour MP admitted some areas of the new 20mph speed limit in Wales are “frankly bonkers” during an appearance on BBC Question Time.

The Labour-run Welsh Government earlier this year dropped the default speed limit from 30mph to 20mph for residential roads in a move that sparked a widespread backlash.

During this week’s Question Time in Llandudno in North Wales, the panel clashed during a debate on whether the rest of the UK should follow Wales with the speed limit.

Chris Bryant, the Labour MP for Rhondda, insisted many parts of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland already have 20mph zone.

But he admitted Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford’s administration had “got it a bit wrong” in some areas of the new speed limit.

Mr Bryant said: “I think where we’ve got it a bit wrong and where I think there must be a review of the way it’s been implemented is that some of the bits are just bonkers.”

Addressing Welsh Secretary David TC Davies, he said: “It’s not blanket by the way and David I really wish you would stop that line because 60 percent of the roads in Wales are 40mph or faster, exactly the same as it was before the rule was changed.”

The Labour MP went on: “But there are some areas where it’s just a bit frankly bonkers, you go from 20mph to 30mph back to 20mph.

“Lee Walters the minister has already said the guidance is going to be reviewed and I think it should be so that local authorities can make better, more sensible, common-sense decisions on the particular roads in their areas.

“David’s right, everybody believes that outside a school, hospital, clinic, chemist and some residential areas it should be 20mph.

“But I’m the MP for the Rhondda, the thing is that’s nearly every road in the Rhonda – so for buses and people trying to get to their clients as care workers and so on it’s really difficult.”

Mr Davies, who represents Monmouth, had hit out at the 20mph speed limit earlier in the programme.

He said: “Let’s be clear every sensible person will support 20mph speed limits outside schools, hospitals or where there are vulnerable people walking.

“The way this has been done, it is a blanket limit because it’s been brought in on all roads where there’s currently a 30mph zone unless councils want to jump through a load of hoops.”

More than 465,000 people have signed a record-breaking petition on the Senedd website against the 20mph speed limit, which came into force in September.

The Welsh Government has said that cutting the speed limit would protect lives and save the NHS in Wales £92million a year.

But the project is costing around £33million to implement, while it is expected to hit the economy by up to £9billion.

Not all 30mph roads will see their speed limits reduced as councils have the power to exempt certain roads from the scheme.

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