a BACKLASH over plans to introduce blanket 20mph speed limits later this year have continued from opposition politicians in the Senedd as a 21,000 signature petition from residents calls for the idea to be scrapped.

Minister for Transport Lee Waters faced further questions last week in the Senedd following a debate in early July over the petition against the change.

Mr Waters said that “reducing speed will not only save lives but will help build stronger, safer communities” and is the “biggest step-change in community safety in a generation.”

Most streets in Wales that currently have a 30mph speed limit will switch to 20mph on Sunday, 17 September, but the plans have met opposition however with a petition calling for the rollout of 20mph roads to be scrapped gaining 21,920 signatures and was closed early so the matter could be discussed.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Transport Minister Natasha Asghar, questioning Mr Waters in the Senedd last Wednesday, said “The people of Wales strongly oppose the implementation of default 20mph speed limits.

“However, the Labour Government refuse to listen.

“The Labour Minister appears incapable of considering the broader consequences of these policies.

“Commuters, families and even bus passengers will suffer due to these measures and it is evident that Labour shows a complete lack of concern.

“Its implementation will adversely affect people’s daily lives, making their journeys longer and more difficult.

“Astonishingly, even the Labour Government’s own explanatory memorandum to the bill acknowledges that this policy will impose a staggering cost of £4.5 billion on the Welsh economy.”

Mr Waters said: “In Wales we do things differently, we look after each other and trust the science.

“Evidence shows that a vehicle travelling at 30mph will still be travelling at 24mph in the time it would take a car travelling 20mph to stop.

“Reducing speed not only saves lives; it will help build stronger, safer communities - better places to live our lives.”

The Welsh Government claims that 20mph default speed limit could save £92m a year and save up to 100 lives and 20,000 casualties in the next decade, and the plan has been backed by groups including Living Streets Cymru and Public Health Wales.

The petition calling for the changes to be scrapped says “the new speed changes will disproportionately affect the commute times of people travelling by road for work, especially in areas where most roads are currently 30mph and have no bypass roads.”

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “Evidence from around the world is clear. Reducing speed limits reduces collisions and saves lives.