Proposal to reduce speed limit to 20mph on residential streets: analysing and reporting on consultation and public opinion survey responses

Beaufort were commissioned by the Welsh Government to analyse and report on the results of a public consultation carried out in summer 2021 on the proposal to introduce a default 20mph speed limit on restricted roads in Wales.

To put the consultation results into context, we compared results with findings from two other research studies that we had conducted for the Welsh Government in the previous few years: a public opinion survey carried out across Wales in November 2020 utilising the Beaufort Wales Omnibus Survey; and focus group research in three pilot areas in September 2021.

When asked in the consultation for their views on the Welsh Government proposal to reduce the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph on restricted roads, slightly more of those responding were opposed to the idea than in favour. 53% of consultation respondents said they were against 20mph (47% ‘strongly against’ and 6% ‘slightly against’), while 47% were in favour (41% ‘strongly in favour’ and 6% ‘slightly in favour’).

The consultation results were quite different from the findings of the public opinion survey and the feedback from the focus groups of residents in pilot areas. In the Wales Omnibus survey, over eight in ten of the public (81%) supported a reduction in the speed limit to 20mph and fewer than two in ten (17%) were against. The difference is likely to be the result of the different sampling approaches for each exercise – the sample for the public consultation was self-selecting, while the opinion survey sample was structured to be representative of the general population, thus minimising self-selection bias.

The full report is available here.


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