Joyce takes Powys road safety campaign to the Senedd

Assembly Member Joyce Watson is backing a campaign to improve road safety in Llanfair Caereinon.

The A458 recently had 20 mph signs installed to slow down traffic in the Montgomeryshire town at the start and end of the school day. Campaigners say more must be done to protect children crossing the busy road, however; they are calling for signs that show drivers’ speed to be fitted.

Speaking in the final debate before the Assembly’s summer break (18 July), Mrs Watson urged the government to intervene. She said:

“I’ve been contacted by Llanfair Caereinion, where schoolchildren have to cross a main road to get to and from their school…whilst local authorities are responsible in the main, we do have to look at trunk roads.”

The Labour AM was referring to the fact that Welsh Government – not councils – is responsible for major roads in Wales, A roads and motorways. The Wales Act, which came into law earlier this year, gives Welsh ministers further power to set speed limits – and regulate pedestrian crossings, school crossing and traffic signs – differently to England.

In reply to Joyce Watson, transport minister Ken Skates said:

“I must say in response to Joyce Watson, who raised a really important point about Welsh Government’s responsibility, and not just the responsibility of local authorities, we have carried out a comprehensive review of our trunk roads and as a consequence we’ve introduced our multi-year programme of establishing part-time 20-mph limits near nearly all schools on or close to our trunk roads. These operate at the start and at the end of the school day to create a safe environment for children travelling to and from school, and they also encourage behavioural change, and drive behavioural change, by motorists. Now, this programme will be completed this financial year and will cover 45 locations on our strategic road network. I’m pleased to say that, in Fishguard, we’ve introduced a permanent 20-mph limit on the trunk road, and, based on evidence and consultation, I’d be more than happy to consider permanent 20-mph limits elsewhere.”

The Mid and West Wales member has written in more detail to the minister on the situation in Llanfair Caereinon.