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50mph schemes ‘successful in driving down air pollution’

Motorists exceeding the 50mph speed limits on some of the most polluted roads in Wales could now receive a letter or fine through their doors, the Welsh Government has warned.

The decision to introduce environmental speed limits to improve air quality levels in five locations across Wales, made in 2018, was the first of its kind in the UK. The Welsh Government acknowledges slower speed limits ‘are not a popular choice’, but says it needs to be ‘bold’ to tackle climate change It adds schemes have already been successful – lowering the levels of nitrogen dioxide in affected areas by up to 47%.

Enforcement began on 4 October.

Lee Waters, deputy minister for climate change, said: “We’ve made significant progress in bringing emissions levels down in recent years, but we now have to go further and faster.

“We know that slower speed limits are not a popular choice, but we need to do things differently and be bold if we are to stand a chance of tackling climate change.

“It’s clear that the speed restrictions we’ve introduced on our most polluted roads are working – the results speak for themselves – but compliance with these limits is essential if we are to achieve the reductions we need to make in the shortest possible time. “We need to act now to make Wales a safe place to live with clean air for everyone.”

Mark Travis, assistant chief constable at South Wales Police – and roads policing lead for Wales – said: “The implementation of the 50mph speed limits, for environmental reasons, on some of Wales’s busiest roads is an important issue to tackle pollution and to give Wales and its communities a cleaner and healthier future.

“All four Welsh forces are supporting its implementation, with the enforcement of these speed limits approached in a consistent, proportionate and transparent manner.”

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