THERE has been plenty of criticism surrounding the 20mph speed limits in Wales since they were introduced last month.

As of September 17, the majority of residential roads in Wales have changed from being 30mph to 20mph.

The move has met with backlash from residents, with over 460,000 people signing a petition calling for the decision to be reversed.

But, one motoring expert has decided to look into why the new speed limits may just be a 'positive change' for Wales.

Founder of lease comparison firm LeaseLoco John Wilmot, was inspired to look at the long term benefits of introducing 20mph to urban areas, after reading about the petition opposing the law.

This is how he believes the new limits can make Wales' roads a safer place.

Significant improvements in pedestrian safety

John says: "One of the main reasons behind the change from 30 to 20mph in Wales is to improve safety on our roads. At 30mph, the stopping distance (thinking distance + braking distance) for an average family car is around 23 metres. At 20mph, it's about 12 metres.

"This reduced stopping distance can be the difference between life and death if a child runs out into the road. Pedestrians hit by a car travelling at 20mph have a much higher chance of survival compared to being hit at 30mph, who would have a one in five chance of being killed."

Lower speeds help to save fuel

John says: "During a cost of living crisis, any way to save money helps and a reduction in speed has been proven to do just that. Research suggests that cars are more fuel efficient when the speed limit is capped at 20mph as vehicles use twice as much energy to hit 30mph, using more fuel in the process.

"Drivers sticking to a 20mph speed limit could save as much as 10p per mile on fuel in towns and cities with stop/start traffic, without increasing their journey times significantly.

Unlikely to have an impact on journey times

John says: "A concern for many drivers is an increase in journey time on roads previously capped at 30mph, however it’s unlikely to have a major impact. Yes, driving slower will inevitably increase the time to get to your destination, but figures from the Welsh government suggest that average journey time will increase by around 63 seconds, which will likely have very little impact on the vast majority of the Welsh population."

It’s been proven to work in other areas in the UK

John says: "Wales may be the first country in the UK to introduce 20mph as the default speed in many villages, towns and cities. However, many other UK towns and cities reduced their speed limits many years ago, with positive results to show for it.

"The city of Edinburgh for example, saw collision rates fall by 40%, with casualty rates from road traffic accidents falling by 39%. London has also seen positive results since introducing 20mph speed limits in parts of the city.

"Transport for London Road Network reported that they had seen a 25% reduction in the number of collisions since the introduction and a 63% decrease in collisions involving pedestrians.

"Reducing the number of collisions on the road helps to keep traffic flowing and drivers are likely to experience less delays to their journeys as a result.

"Cities like Edinburgh and London are proof that a 20mph limit can have a positive impact on the overall safety of road users and pedestrians. We’re already seeing an decrease in average speed since the introduction of the 20 zones in Wales just two weeks ago, so it’s likely we’ll see similar positive results in the long term."