The Labour First Minister of Wales today insisted that the policy imposed from Sunday will save the NHS £92million a year by reducing the number of deaths caused by car-related crashes.
He has also insisted companies must ensure their workers can do their roles without breaking the reduced limits.
But the measure, comparable in scale to Sadiq Khan’s own hated ULEZ expansion across Greater London, has been branded as ‘absolutely insane’. Cabinet Minister Penny Mordaunt last night warned that the policy would damage the economy, while locals today warned that it would hurt their trade and cause commuter traffic from next week.
And the RAC today issued an urgent warning to drivers not to rely on their sat navs for the speed limit on Welsh roads because they will not have updated by the time the measure comes into force.
Speaking to MailOnline, taxi driver Keith Mcintyre who works at Courier Wales warned: ‘It is going to be manic. There is going to be more congestion. It is a stupid idea. Companies are definitely going to lose money.
‘Taxi drivers they are going to be hit especially on Fridays and Saturdays. What was a five-minute trip is going to take them 10 minutes, so they aren’t going to be able to do as many trips. What’s worse is they’re are bringing the speed limits in on roads that don’t already have bus lanes, so buses are going backed up traffic as well.
‘I live in Barry and I expect my journey time into Cardiff which normally takes 15 20 minutes will take half an hour on Monday.’
Tories have tabled a motion to scrap Mr Drakeford’s plan amid warnings it will cost at least £33million to implement. Emergency services have also warned that the blanket 20mph road restrictions will slow down response times, effectively putting lives at risk.
And in a sign of further chaos, an interactive map showing the locations of the 20mph zones across the country crashed this morning, apparently due to a surge in online traffic. The map, which is available on the Welsh Government’s website, later came back online.
Most roads in Wales that are currently 30mph will become 20mph, but councils have discretion to impose exemptions.