Warnings that lowering the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph will harm the economy have been “discredited”, a Welsh government minister has said.
One of the government’s own documents said longer journeys could cause a “substantial” economic disadvantage. The default speed limit will be cut in built-up areas next September.
But deputy climate change minister Lee Waters said he did not believe it, adding that it would make the streets safer for walkers and cyclists.
Anywhere between 40 and 440 lives could be saved over 30 years, according to a government analysis, saying this would save money for emergency services and could help the economy. The document also warned that slower journeys for commuters and people who drive for a living meant its “central estimate” was an economic hit of £4.5bn over 30 years, but acknowledged there was “significant uncertainty” over the figure and “active professional debate” about how it was calculated
Journeys are expected to be less than a minute longer on average, with the vast majority affected by less than two minutes.
Mr Waters said: “The idea that being a minute later to get to school harms the economy, I just don’t believe it, so I think the figures are discredited in my view and there’s a movement to change that.
“Also it’s going to save lives – we know it’s going to save lives.” Separate research commissioned by the government found cutting the speed limit could save £100m in its first year alone.
In other news – UK Covid modelling data to stop being published
Coronavirus modelling data will stop being published in early January, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) says.
Statistics covering the growth rate of the virus are currently released fortnightly, but the agency says this is no longer necessary. Learn more