New 20mph limit – get your drivers ready

From 17 September 2023, a new 20mph speed limit will come into force on certain roads across Wales. Some roads will remain at 30mph, but approximately 35% of the roads in Wales (by length) will become 20mph.

Your drivers will need to know in advance that the new 20mph speed limit will be in operation in certain areas.

Where is the new 20mph speed limit?

The changes in speed limit to 20mph will happen on roads where streetlights are placed no more than 200 yards apart, usually located in residential and built-up areas which people use frequently. The Welsh Government is changing the default speed limit in an effort to make streets safer by reducing the likelihood of collisions – and death or injury from them.

Its decision was based on a Welsh public health study which estimated that the 20mph default speed limit could result in:

● 40% fewer collisions
● saving 6 to 10 lives every year
● and avoiding 1200 to 2000 people being injured every year.

In Wales, it has been estimated that with widespread introduction of 20mph, the value of preventing these casualties is between £58 million to £94 million each year.

As well as making collisions less severe when they do happen, the slower speed also increases the chances of avoiding a collision in the first place, in turn reducing the burden on the NHS.

If you manage drivers, you must ensure your drivers are aware of changes to the law. This might also mean adjusting schedules to account for new speed limits, in order to ensure that drivers are not under unnecessary pressure.

Driving for business in Wales

Whatever vehicles your drivers are using, getting to 30mph requires more than twice as much energy as getting to 20mph. Evidence suggests that as a result of smoother driving styles, reducing braking and acceleration, improved traffic flow, and possible reductions in fuel consumption, 20mph produces less air pollution than 30mph.

The existing 30mph speed limits for residential areas were set before World War II, when there were far fewer cars on the roads and speed limits were set without the wealth of research and data that now exists. Research indicates that the majority of drivers observe speed limits on residential streets, with findings from speed monitoring work in one of the pilot 20mph schemes in Wales showing that only around 6% of drivers required enforcement action to be taken against them, in the form of advice, a speed education course or other action.

Under the new 20mph legislation, local councils are able to use their local knowledge to retain a 30mph limit where there is a case for doing so. These 30mph roads will be marked by signs in the same way that variations from the current default speed limit are used.

You can find out more information about 20mph on the Welsh Government website, so that you can prepare your drivers for this change in good time.

Interested in finding out more about the Driving for Better Business programme for those who employ drivers? Get started below.



Simon Turner

Simon Turner
Campaign Manager
Driving for Better Business

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