Three 20mph roads on Anglesey proposed for change as boy's life is 'saved' by lower speed limit

20mph roads could start going back up to 30mph by the end of the year - but a North Wales mum has just discovered how important lower speeds can be
20mph roads could start going back up to 30mph by the end of the year - but a North Wales mum has just discovered how important lower speeds can be -Credit:Ben Birchall/PA Wire

A virtual 20mph summit is being hosted by Wales’ transport minister today (Monday, April 29) to find common ground between supporters and opponents. It comes as a Flintshire mum claimed the default 20mph speed limit saved her son’s life after he was seriously injured when hit by a car.

Ken Skates said today’s virtual meeting was part of the listening exercise he launched last week when announcing changes to the country’s 20mph policy. He told BBC Politics Wales this could lead to “many dozens of routes” being revised in places like Conwy.

On Anglesey, Virginia Crosbie is already pushing to kickstart the 20mph overhaul. The Welsh Government has said it will issue new exceptions guidance to councils this summer but the island’s MP wants to “get the ball rolling” now.

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The backdrop to today’s 20mph summit will be the accident suffered by Ioan, an 11-year-old boy from Holywell, Flintshire. He was left with a double fracture to his pelvis, and deep cuts to his face, knees, back and elbow, after he collided with a car seven days ago.

Mum Rhiannon believes her son might have been killed if the vehicle had been going faster. Ioan, a pupil at Ysgol Treffynon, could remain at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital for up to six weeks.

“After thinking how slow the 20mph speed was, I am now so grateful that the car was travelling at 20mph,” she told The Leader. “Because I dread to think what would have happened if it was even going at 30mph.

“The doctor said the impact was severe and that he’s a very lucky boy - and that’s just having been hit at 20. The fact the car was only travelling at 20mph saved his life, or from potentially life-changing injuries.” The North Wales Live Whatsapp community for top stories and breaking news is live now - here’s how to sign up

The Welsh Government has said its 20mph review will put the “voice of citizens at the heart of all we do” ahead of an autumn overhaul of 20mph roads. A record-breaking Senedd petition attracted almost 470,000 signatures and some of those involved are due to take part in today’s summit.

Rhiannon believed speed limits should be tailored to the road. Her family lives at the bottom of a busy road where the limit is 40mph. She said: “There’s a place for 20mph and a place for 30mph. We believe that 20mph was definitely the right speed limit in the area where he was struck.”

Ynys Môn MP Virginia Crosbie has drawn up a starting list of three Anglesey roads she believes should be a priority for revision. She said these were singled out for change during her own recent 20mph summit in Llangefni.

The MP is concerned that residents will be stuck with 20mph speed limits for longer than necessary unless Anglesey Council launches a pre-emptive consultation process.

Other local authorities in Wales have gone down this route already, she said. Ms Crosbie said time was of the essence because of the disruptive effects 20mph roads were having on everyday life on Ynys Môn.

“The reduced speed in many of our villages has had a significant impact on journey times which has, in turn, affected bus timetables, carer provision and so on,” she said. “Many of my constituents are struggling to attend appointments and manage work-school schedules. Others tell me they are now effectively cut-off from public transport.”

In a letter to council chief executive Dylan Williams, the MP questioned why 20mph exceptions were agreed for only 17 road sections on Anglesey. Neighbouring Gwynedd permitted 85 exceptions and some South Wales councils agreed almost twice as many again.

She wrote: “I understand that other local authorities are consulting on and progressing exceptions. I would therefore ask, on behalf of my constituents, that Anglesey Council at least gets the ball rolling and commences a consultation process.”

Roads that topped the Llangefni summit list for change were:

  • The A5025 through Four Mile Bridge.

  • The A5 through Gaerwen

  • The A5025 through Benllech (except for the central area around the crossroads)

The MP added: “I have received many emails, letters and calls from constituents concerned about this change. The petition against this policy stands at over 460,000 signatures, of which 8,796 are from Ynys Môn. This policy is wreaking havoc in Wales, with bus companies having to make further cuts to their services as a result.”

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