Lowering speed limit to 20mph could have ‘health benefits’, says PHW

PUBLIC Health Wales (PHW) believes that lowering the default speed limit to 20mph could have substantial health benefits.

The government confirmed there had been discussions with Flintshire Council over the pilot in Buckey, which proved unpopular with residents due to ongoing issues.

But, according to PHW, evidence shows that not only will 20mph reduce the risk of traffic accidents, it can also help people feel safer to walk and cycle more.

Read more: Wrexham: Police issue warning over e-scooter incidents

They say it will also benefit people’s physical and mental well-being and could also reduce the number of vehicles on the road, leading to less damage to the environment.

PHW also adds that going from 30mph to 20mph doesn’t make a significant difference to journey times; the increase in travel time for urban trips is only 17 seconds per mile and could be less in rural areas.

Dr Sarah J Jones, environmental public health consultant at Public Health Wales, said: ‘Travelling at 20mph has been shown to reduce the risk of crashes and the severity of crashes which still occur. It also produces less noise and reduces fuel consumption.

“This encourages people to walk and cycle, helping to combat obesity and improve mental well-being. All of these are likely to contribute to improved health and reduced demands for health services, which will help the NHS recover from COVID.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) states that 45% of pedestrians are killed when struck by a car traveling at 30mph or less, but only 5% when traveling at 20mph or less.

The target date for national rollout is April 2023 and only 1% of urban roads have been changed in Wales so far, but the implementation of the speed limit change will differ from region to region as local authorities are in charge of the change. .