20mph Speed Limits – Update on implementation

The national picture

In May 2019, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that it was Welsh Government policy to set a national default 20mph limit for residential areas. Since that time work has been underway to prepare for that change.

The timetable proposed was to pass the statutory instrument in October 2021 and to effect the change in law in April 2023.

What will the impact of a default 20mph mean?

When the legislation changes all roads will automatically default to 20mph. This means that the maximum speed you can legally travel at will be 20mph. There are some roads that will remain at 30mph and these will then be signed in the same way that roads with higher speed limits are now.

Any signage that is in place indicating a 20mph limit will be removed and there will be no signage in place to remind you of the speed limit – much in the same way as it is in the current 30mph limits.

How will the new limits be enforced?

Enforcement of the speed limit is a matter for the police.  However Cardiff Council is working with GoSafe and Welsh Government during the first phase to develop an enforcement strategy.

What’s happening now?

Welsh Government has recently launched a project to implement ‘Phase 1’ areas from summer 2021 ahead of the planned national rollout. This project will help develop enforcement arrangements and overcome unforeseen issues before the full rollout in 2023.

The areas chosen are intended to be a representative sample of different locations found across Wales, including villages, towns and cities.

The eight locations are:

  • Abergavenny, Monmouthshire
  • Central North Cardiff
  • Severnside, Monmouthshire
  • Buckley, Flintshire
  • Cilfriw Village, Neath and Port Talbot
  • St Dogmaels, Pembrokeshire
  • St Brides Major, Vale of Glamorgan
  • Llanelli north, Carmarthenshire


20mph limits – the Cardiff Picture: 

A significant part of the city already has 20mph limits in place and Cardiff Council has long been committed to expanding 20mph limits to all residential areas in the city. Cardiff Council is part of the Welsh Government Phase 1 scheme to develop the technical processes as part of the national change to a 20mph default speed limit.  The timescale for extending 20mph limits to all residential areas of Cardiff will now be dependent upon the timetable for the new legislation set by the Welsh Government.

Cardiff Council will not be implementing any new 20mph speed limits until this legislation comes into force but will ensure that any temporary limits installed as part of the COVID19 social distancing measures are made permanent. This is to ensure that these limits stay in force until the default limit is law.

The Central North Cardiff Project:

The Central North Cardiff area includes the following wards

  • Llandaff North
  • Whitchurch and Tongwynlais
  • Rhiwbina
  • Heath

Phase 1 map of the areas showing the new 20mph limit area and where 30mph limits will stay in place:

This area will be signed for 20mph but will not have many roundels painted in the street as all signage will have to be removed when the default speed limit changes. There will be a clear indication on street where the local limits change to 20mph so motorists should look out for these ‘gateways’ as they enter and leave the area. There will also be a robust communications message associated with this phase 1 area rollout.


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Related projects

Cardiff Council is always working on projects to improve travel for all modes, and is keen to make sure that everyone has the right opportunity to feedback their thoughts and ideas. This page brings you an opportunity to find out more about work in progress. Click on the links below to take a closer look.

Castle Street

View Project

Cycleway 4.2

View Project

City Centre East

View Project