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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

An expensive mistake

Having effectively used up the entire road safety budget to spend £34 million introducing a 20mph default speed limit into Wales, Welsh Ministers have now performed a u-turn and said that local councils can restore some of the 30mph roads to their original speed restriction.

The catch is that the changes could cost up to £5 million more. At least the Welsh Government will pay for this, but this £39 million is money that could have been spent elsewhere, not least in improving safety around schools.

The obsession with introducing rarely used cycle tracks at the cost of tens of millions of pounds, and in the process disrupting entire communities is another example of good money being wasted on untested policy decisions without any proper thought being given to the impact on people's lives.

The argument in both cases of course is that ministers are trying to get people out of their cars in an attempt to influence climate change but, noble as that is, it doesn't stop Labour Ministers cutting subsidies for bus services, leaving many communities isolated and dependent on cars.

These exercises in hubris are what happens when you let ideologues like Sustrans and high-minded academics dictate policy instead of talking to voters and working with them to properly target expenditure at measures that will make a difference and have public support.
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