Fire Fighter says 20mph will slow down response times

Fire Fighter says 20mph will slow down response times

Welsh Conservatives Shadow Minister for Transport, Natasha Asghar MS, has heard concerns from a firefighter over the impact of the Labour Government’s 20mph default speed limit.

The retained firefighter highlighted that:

– The 20mph default speed limit will delay firefighters getting to stations in their own vehicles.

– Fire incidents will take longer to get to.

– Labour have extended the distance of retained firefighters from 5 minutes travel to 10 minutes, with the new speed limit impacting journeys.

This is on top of revelations highlighted by the Assistant Chief Constable for South Wales Police, Mark Travis, disclosing that the new default 20mph speed limit in Wales “will have an impact on how we within the four Welsh police forces and you as emergency services, carry out your core business…”.

Commenting on the shocking disclosures, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Transport, Natasha Asghar MS said:

“A leaked email last week highlighted that Wales’ 20mph speed limit will slow police response times, the email is in black and white for the world to see.

 “Now we have new revelations from a member of the fire service that blanket 20mph speed limits will slow them down, and put lives on the line. It proves that this ludicrous policy is not about safety when lives are being put at risk as a result.

“The last week has raised some serious concerns from the public and Labour need to have a rethink and urgently put a hold on the roll out of default 20mph speed limits. They’re a risk to people’s lives, this has to be more important than the Labour Minister’s fragile ego and vanity project which is what this blanket 20MPH has become.”

The full letter by Assistant Chief Constable can be found below:

To Blue Light Colleagues across Wales,

The implementation of default 20mph zones across Wales is being introduced on the 17th of September 2023. The Welsh Government are introducing this change to legislation to help communities become a more cohesive, safe and pleasant place to live in line with the Wellbeing of Future Generations Legislation.

This change in default speed limit applies to all current 30mph roads which means that following the 17th of September 2023 all these roads will have a default speed limit of 20mph. There are however exceptions to the default speed limit and each local or highway authority can “exempt” certain roads that fall within the guidance provided by Welsh Government. These roads will be clearly signposted in line with current traffic sign regulation and guidance to the relevant speed limit for the road.

The implications of the new 20mph default speed limit and an alteration to current legislation will have an impact on how we within the four Welsh police forces and you as emergency services, carry out your core business of serving the communities of Wales.

Additionally, we understand this having an impact on the driver training you provide internally and the requirement for time to allow communication to your staff members. We recognise that this will influence speeds at which our responders are able to travel to emergency calls and may have an impact on how we respond or deploy our staff to incidents.

Within Wales we predominantly work in partnership through GoSafe via our own casualty reduction departments, which allows us the ability to police these roads and new speed limits in a proportionate, fair and consistent manner. Further information about the default speed limit and how we within Wales intend to educate and enforce on these and other road safety matters can be found in this link – GoSafe | Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership.

Xxxx attached to the police liaison unit to Welsh Government can be your point of contact should you have any specific queries.

Contact email xxx

Yours sincerely

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Travis

South Wales Police

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