Showing posts from September, 2023

Confident about the need to change

Speech to the Senedd on 27th September 2023 responding to a motion of No Confidence I recognise the strength of feeling there is against the change to the speed limit. The number of people who have signed the Senedd petition speaks for itself, and we certainly take it seriously. I understand that lots of people are angry and frustrated. My message to the more than 400,000 who have signed the petition is simple: We are listening to what you're saying, we understand not everybody likes this, and we are willing to be flexible on how this is implemented in your local community. Llywydd, this is the biggest change in the rules of the road since wearing seatbelts became compulsory in 1983. That too was highly controversial and strongly resisted. Many people found it hard to adjust but it became accepted, and nobody has suggested we should go back. And that’s what’s happened in areas that have dropped the speed limit too. We won’t be going back either. On streets where people and traffic

How much is a life worth?

  So what will the cost to the economy be of a safer speed limit in residential areas?   The headline figure that has been estimated is 4.5 Billion.  It is an arresting figure, but it isn’t really what it seems.  As part of the  Explanatory Memorandum  we have to publish we have to produce an estimate of costs and benefits. And we have to use the approach set out in the  UK Treasury’s Green Book  for evaluating schemes.   And we have to try and put a financial value to this, but of course there are some things you cannot measure: the grief to a family of a child killed on their street; the social value of meeting neighbors in the street and chatting, the absence of stress from engine noise that is louder in a street with a 30mph limit.  Those things and more aren’t captured by the Treasury Green Book.  It measures what it can, and it tries to put a monetary value next to it. And as the Explanatory Memorandum makes clear there is a lot of uncertainty about these figures. 

Lower speeds save lives

Speech to the Senedd on September 12th 2023 From Sunday most roads with a 30mph speed limit in Wales will be changing to 20mph. This is the biggest step-change in community safety for a generation. It will save lives, prevent injuries and encourage more people to walk and cycle. It make our streets safer for all road users, including car drivers, and improve the quality of life for everyone in local communities. On the two occasions when we debated the approach we are taking on 20mph there was cross-party support– including in 2020 from the Conservative benches, and their group leader at the time – and the policy was backed with significant majorities. Change is never easy and as we have got closer to 17th September, and with greater awareness of the need speed limit coming into affect, concerns are being surfaced. People’s natural anxieties about change have not been helped by blatant misinformation being cynically spread by the Conservatives in Wales. Under our Standards of Personal