1903 20 MPH speed limit comes back into effect across Wales?
New default 20mph speed limit to come into effect across Wales
The laws changed in 1903 when the maximum limit was raised to 20mph.
The Act followed the Locomotives on Highways Act 1896 which had increased the speed limit for motorcars to 14 mph from the previous 4 mph in rural areas and 2 mph in towns.
Driver licences were first introduced in Britain by the Motor Car Act, 1903 the licence being issued by the council on payment of five shillings.
Mandatory vehicle registration of all motorcars with the county council or county it was then up to the council to issue a unique number to each car and recommend the manner in which it was to be displayed on the vehicle.
Residents are reminded that the Welsh Government’s default 20mph speed limit was first introduced in 1903 the same year that regulations were introduced regarding the braking ability of vehicles.
The link shows cars made in 1903 when breaking ability regulations were introduced
Residents are reminded that the Welsh Government’s default 20mph speed limit for Wales starts on September 17. Here, we’ve included links to useful information from the Welsh Government about what to expect from Sunday.
The default 20mph speed limit will come into effect across all Local Authorities in Wales and will result in most of the current 30mph roads being reduced to 20mph to improve road safety.
Welsh Government has emphasised this is not a blanket change for all roads – rather, as a general rule, it will apply where street lighting is in place unless signs are indicating a different speed limit.
The Welsh Government has provided a bank of information to help communities know what to expect locally from the start date of Sunday, September 17. Please find some useful links to the Welsh Government content below:
- Easy Read leaflet – Get Ready for 20mph.
- Audio leaflet – Get Ready for 20mph.
- Introducing default 20mph speed limits.
- Introducing 20mph speed limits: frequently asked questions.
- 20mph public attitudes research.
The Local Authority will decide where the 20 MPH will apply
Each Local Authority was asked to identify local exemptions to the default 20mph speed limit, to retain a 30mph limit from September 17 as they do not meet the specified placemaking criteria set by the Welsh Government. More than 70 exempt roads were identified in Rhondda Cynon Taf (by June 2023), and they are available to view on the data map on Welsh Government’s website.
In July 2023, a public notice was published on these proposed exemptions, giving the public an opportunity to raise any objections. The second element of the public notice (Notice of Making) was published on September 11, and the Council will write to residents who made a submission with a response.
In February 2023, the Council began advanced works to prepare its highway network for the changes, with all costs being met by the Welsh Government. This includes removing speed limit road markings, with minor resurfacing needed at some locations. This has been completed throughout the Cynon Valley, while work in the Rhondda and Taff areas will be completed by September 17.
Additional work to install red surface treatments will be completed after September 17 at locations where new gateways are introduced under the new default speed limit. Disruptive work will be publicised locally in due course.
All regulatory signage changes across the County Borough are on course to be completed by Monday, September 17. Secondary signage works that are not legally required (for example, the implementation or removal of the 20mph and 30mph repeater signs) will be completed by November 2023.
The Council’s project homepage (www.rctcbc.gov.uk/20mph) continues to be updated, while queries from residents about any aspect of the default 20mph speed limit can be sent to email@example.com for the attention of officers.
Image from Category:1903 automobiles https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:1903_automobiles