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Labour minister responsible for Wales’s hated 20mph speed limits announces he is standing down and deleting his Twitter account after suffering online abuse


A Labour minister, who introduced an unpopular countrywide 20mph speed limit in Wales, has announced he is resigning after receiving a torrent of abuse on Twitter.

Lee Waters, who has been the Welsh Government’s Minister for Climate Change since 2021, put the country on the path to be the first UK nation to decrease its default limit to 20mph.

The minister has also overseen a ban on any new roads being built.

Now Mr Waters is standing down from his position and deleting his X, formerly Twitter, account after he revealed he was receiving a flood of unpleasant comments, saying that the social media site ‘stopped being fun a while ago’.

The architect of Wales’s unpopular transport policies added that he spent ‘far too much time on Twitter’.

Labour minister Lee Waters (pictured) who introduced the unpopular countrywide 20mph speed limit in Wales, has announced he is resigning after receiving a torrent of abuse on Twitter

Labour minister Lee Waters (pictured) who introduced the unpopular countrywide 20mph speed limit in Wales, has announced he is resigning after receiving a torrent of abuse on Twitter

Half a million people last year signed a petition against limits being reduced from 30mph (pictured, a 20mph sign in Gowerton near Swansea)

Half a million people last year signed a petition against limits being reduced from 30mph (pictured, a 20mph sign in Gowerton near Swansea)

He said: ‘I now get a pile of malign comments for even the most innocuous posts

‘When I leave my transport role in a fortnight I’ll be deleting my account. Elon [Musk] can shove it up his X.’ 

Andrew RT Davies, Conservative leader in the Welsh Parliament, welcomed Mr Waters’s resignation.

He said: ‘Motorists and business owners across Wales will breathe a sigh of relief at this news.

‘The Deputy Minister’s time in post has been characterised by one anti-motorist policy after another, slowing Wales down and doing serious damage to our economy.

‘It’s time to scrap the road building ban, scrap the 20mph speed limit, and implement a transport policy that gets Wales moving.’

Half a million people last year signed a petition against limits being reduced from 30mph.

The petition, created by Welshman Mark Baker, said: ‘Welsh Government claim to have supporting evidence stating that reducing to 20mph EVERWHERE [sic] saves lives! Yet we get flyers merely claiming that it will, and opinions from doctors that see RTCs coming into A&E. This is NOT evidence. The only true evidence is from Belfast and it states it makes NO DIFFERENCE to RTCs!

New 20mph signs have been vandalised across the country, including this one on Sloper Road on September 23 2023 in Cardiff, Wales

New 20mph signs have been vandalised across the country, including this one on Sloper Road on September 23 2023 in Cardiff, Wales

A 20mph road sign that has been defaced in Cwmbran, South Wales in October last year

A 20mph road sign that has been defaced in Cwmbran, South Wales in October last year

Andrew RT Davies (pictured), Conservative leader in the Welsh Parliament, welcomed Mr Waters's resignation

Andrew RT Davies (pictured), Conservative leader in the Welsh Parliament, welcomed Mr Waters’s resignation

‘At least one of the trial villages in Monmouthshire actually reverted their trial because it was causing absolute carnage on the roads! [Welsh First Minister] Mark Drakeford has come out claiming it is a success in St Brides Major but every time I go though there NO ONE is driving at 20mph.

‘The Welsh Government has FAILED to produce ANY convincing evidence to support these claims of safety. This law is being spearheaded by the WG Climate Change department and NOT Health & Safety!!

‘YOU HAVE NOT LISTENED TO US.

‘The Welsh Government was put there BY THE PEOPLE OF WALES, We are your boss! We demand that this foolish idea be stopped.’

Fines started being dished out in January for those breaking the new rules after a three-month grace period came to an end.

The Welsh Government said the move, which affected most residential roads, was made in order to ‘save lives’ and make streets safer by reducing the number of collisions and severe injuries from them. 

The Labour-run devolved government also said it aimed to encourage more people to walk and cycle, improve health and well-being, and ‘safeguard the environment for future generations’.

The new 20mph limits are not yet as strictly enforced as in England and Scotland with drivers able to travel at 25mph in the new zones.

GoSafe Wales, which connects the Welsh police and local authorities together in a road safety network, confirmed that fines begin for those driving 10 per cent over the limit plus 4mph.

This means that only those travelling at 26mph and above are likely to be penalised.

In Scotland and England, the margin of leniency is 10 per cent of the limit plus 2mph.

According to its own impact assessment, the ‘main economic dis-benefit’ of the new regime ‘relates to increased journey times from lower average vehicle speeds’.

It states that this could result in an economic hit of up to £9 billion over 30 years; the cost of implementing the scheme will be £33 million.

But Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford said the 20mph speed limit would save lives and the cost was ‘outweighed’ by reduced impact on the NHS and emergency services.

The Welsh government has started dishing out sanctions following an 'initial bedding in period' (Stock Photo)

The Welsh government has started dishing out sanctions following an ‘initial bedding in period’ (Stock Photo)

In Wales, the enforcement of fines will only begin at 10 per cent of the speed limit plus 4mph

In Wales, the enforcement of fines will only begin at 10 per cent of the speed limit plus 4mph

Mr Drakeford has said ‘the evidence is incontrovertible’ that ‘driving more slowly in built-up urban areas saves people’s lives’ and that it will save the Health Service £90million as a result.

He cited a similar scheme in Spain, saying it had cut urban deaths by 20 percent.

Critics say penalty fines will hit drivers who already face larger petrol bills for running their engines at lower – and less efficient – speeds.



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