Posted: Thu 29th Jun 2023

Speed limit reduction to 50mph on Wrexham’s A483 having ‘positive environmental impact’

news.wales / newyddion.cymru
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Jun 29th, 2023

The controversial speed limit reduction to 50 miles per hour on a stretch of the A483 has had a positive impact on the environment, Wrexham Council’s deputy leader has said. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Pant and Johnstown Cllr David A Bithell (Ind), lead member for housing and the council’s climate champion, gave an update on the authority’s decarbonisation plan at a housing and environment scrutiny meeting. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Bithell and Jayne Rodgers, climate change and carbon reduction manager, took questions from Bangor-on-Dee Cllr Robert Ian Williams (Con) about the impact the new law change in Wales later this year, reducing the default speed limit to 20mph would have on carbon emissions and air quality. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Ms Rodgers said the change in law was unlikely to result in higher carbon emissions. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

She said: “I would say there’s probably more of a benefit for people to travel in a different mode. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“So if people are encouraged to walk or cycle more for local journeys that would have quite an impact on the local carbon emissions associated with transport across the borough. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“I don’t think there’s any firm evidence that travelling at 20mph substantially increases emissions from a vehicle or has a negative effect on air quality. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“If you’ve got 20mph with traffic calming where people slow down to go over humps that can have a slightly negative effect on air quality. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“But if you’re travelling steadily at 20mph within a built-up area, as far as I understand it there isn’t any robust evidence to suggest it has any effect on carbon.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

A few years ago the Welsh Government reduced the speed limit to 50mph on the A483 from the Mold Road interchange to Gresford in a bid to improve air quality. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

According to Cllr Bithell, the council has been shown evidence by the Welsh Government that the controversial change has had the desired impact. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He said: “We recently attended a meeting with Welsh Government to look at the reduction in the speed limit on the A483 that was introduced a couple of years ago to see what benefits that’s had since the reduction to 50mph. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“I’m pleased to say that it has had a positive effect to improve and enhance air quality since it’s been introduced and the trunk road agency and Welsh Government are satisfied that the limit introduced that I know was controversial at the time has been successful.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Cllr Williams then asked how much the conversion to the 20mph going to cost the council in terms of replacing signage and introducing other changes. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

But the council will not be picking up the tab for this according to Cllr Bithell. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“Welsh Government are funding the environment department the cost of signage and legal orders”, he said. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Ms Rodgers added that some of her former colleagues at Flintshire Council had been involved in the controversial trial period in Buckley and had explained that cost and traffic regulation orders are looked at on a street-by-street basis. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

External experts are likely to be brought in to help with the roll-out and Cllr Williams was advised more information could be provided by the council’s transport department. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​



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