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Cilfrew school children say ‘Twenty’s Plenty’ as new 20mph speed limit is introduced

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Pupils from Cilffriw Primary School in Neath Port Talbot helped to celebrate the launch of a new 20mph speed restriction in the village today (March 16) as part of a Welsh Government trial to reduce the national speed limit from 30mph to 20mph in residential areas.

Cilfrew Village is one of eight areas chosen to take part in the pilot scheme following the Welsh Government’s announcement in 2019 that 20mph should be the default speed limit on all residential roads in Wales.

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The 20mph area will encompass all of Cilfrew Village plus a section of the main road (A4230) around Llangatwg Community School, starting at the A465 roundabout and finishing just before the junction of Underwood Road.

It comes as overwhelming evidence shows that lower speeds result in fewer collisions and a reduced severity of injuries. In fact, pedestrians are five times more likely to be killed if hit by 30mph compared to 20mph. As well as the safety benefits, 20mph zones improve air quality, reduce noise pollution and can result in healthier lifestyles by encouraging more walking and cycling in neighbourhoods which are safer and shared more equally between different road users.

Pupils from all age ranges at the school took part in the launch event alongside their headmaster, Mark Quinn, Councillor Doreen Jones and Neath Port Talbot Council’s Road Safety Manager, Joy Smith.

They showed how they had been preparing for the changes by taking part in a cycling awareness lesson in the school yard and by displaying their ‘Twenty’s Plenty’ drawings, messages and poems explaining why they agree with a 20mph limit in their village.

20’s plenty say Cilfrew schoolchildren

Cllr Latham, Leader of Neath Port Talbot Council, said: “We’re proud to be one of the first areas in Wales to roll out a 20mph speed restriction and we’re delighted to have the help of the children at Cilffriw Primary School to help us launch it – they really have taken the ‘Twenty’s Plenty’ message on board.

“Introducing the 20mph limit supports Neath Port Talbot Council’s vision, values and well-being objectives. By reducing the speed of our residential streets, we can create healthier lifestyles through neighbourhoods which encourage walking and cycling, and which claim the streets for children to play.

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“Of course, it will also reduce pollution in the area and, most importantly, significantly reduce the chances of being involved in a road collision. We firmly believe this will have a very positive impact on overall wellbeing and on the environment, creating stronger, friendlier and happier neighbourhoods to live in.”

Year 6 pupils have also written a letter to their community urging that ‘Twenty’s Plenty’ which will be included in a Neath Port Talbot Council newsletter to local residents providing more information. The council’s road safety team will continue to work closely with schools in the area to promote walking and cycling with pupils being offered cycling and pedestrian skills.

The launch of the new 20mph scheme in Cilfrew

Headteacher of Cilffriw Primary School, Mark Quinn, said: “We’re delighted to see a 20mph speed limit being rolled out in Cilfrew. We have been working hard with the pupils to prepare them for the change and they all agree that they will now feel much safer in their local neighbourhood. Neath Port Talbot Council has worked very closely with us on this, and we’re very grateful for all the work that they’ve put in to introduce the scheme which we firmly believe will significantly enhance our local community.”

Welsh Government Deputy Minister for Climate Change with responsibility for Transport, Lee Waters, said: “Cilfrew is the latest of our 20mph pilots to go live and I am pleased to have the support of local residents including schoolchildren in making this change.

“Making 20mph the default speed limit on busy pedestrian streets and in residential areas across Wales is a bold step that will bring significant benefits. Not only does it save lives, but it also helps to make our streets a safer and more welcoming place for cyclists and pedestrians, has a positive outcome for our physical and mental wellbeing and with fewer vehicles on the road, helps create a positive impact on the environment.”

The other pilot areas are St Dogmaels in Pembrokeshire, Abergavenny, Central North Cardiff, Severnside in Monmouthshire, Buckley in Flintshire, Llanelli North in Carmarthenshire, and St Brides Major in the Vale of Glamorgan.

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If Welsh Government goes ahead with the proposal to reduce the default speed limit to 20mph, Wales will become the first country or region in the UK to bring in the change. The pilot scheme will gather data and develop a best practice approach before the proposed full rollout in 2023.

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Education

“Stuck in a catch-22”: parents drive their children to school because they are concerned about traffic

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New polling data released for Living Streets’ Walk to School Week (16-20 May 2022) finds that traffic is one of the biggest barriers to children walking to school, with 17 per cent of parents in Wales naming it as a reason their child doesn’t walk.

With over 460,000 pupils in Wales, it would mean tens of thousands of them are being denied the physical and social health benefits of being more active.

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Schools being too far away from home (18%) and cars parked on pavements (17%) were also barriers for Welsh parents.

The latest data suggests just 50 per cent of primary school aged children in Wales walk to school.

Stephen Edwards, Chief Executive, Living Streets said: “We’re stuck in a catch-22 where families see driving to school as the safest way to protect their children from traffic.

“Leaving the car at home will reduce chaos and road danger around the school gates. It’s also a great way for children to learn about road safety in a real life setting and build their confidence in managing risk.

“Walk to School Week is an excellent opportunity for families to give walking to school a go and reap the health and social benefits of moving more.”

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Living Streets works with schools, local authorities and parent groups to help improve the walk to school.

Stephen Edwards continues: “We want to enable as well as encourage more families to walk to school. We’re here to help parents who are worried about safety around their child’s school. Car-free zones, 20mph limits and better crossings can all help make the walk to school safer and we’re here to help people campaign for them in their area.”

For more information on Living Streets’ walk to school campaign, visit livingstreets.org.uk/WalkToSchool

(Lead image: Shutterstock)

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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Motoring

Revealed: Swansea is one of the UK’s worst cities for road rage – although not as bad as Cardiff

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Swansea has been revealed as the 9th worst place in England and Wales for road rage according to new research.

The city saw 51 instances of recorded road rage in the last year.

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The Road Rage Index, was compiled by specialist car group Motorfinity, which sent Freedom of Information requests to police forces across the country.

Drivers in Swansea also had 15 cases of dangerous driving.

Cardiff topped the list, with 301 instances of drivers ranting at other road users in the city, followed by Leicester at 291.

A combined figure of 240 incidents puts Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton in third place.

Meanwhile, both Lancaster and Preston had 191 reports of road rage between them that attracted the attention of police, while Leeds had 108.

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Police forces for Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton, and Lancaster and Preston were only able to provide the data when grouped with the other cities.

With 32 million motorists vying for space on British roads, it’s little surprise that things get heated. In fact, it’s claimed that more than half of the UK’s drivers admit to sometimes suffering from road rage whilst they’re driving.

Top 10 cities with the most road rage incidents

CityRoad rage incidents in 2021
1Cardiff301
2Leicester291
3Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton (combined)240
4Lancaster and Preston (combined)191
5Leeds108
6Sheffield79
7Bradford68
8Derby51
9Swansea51
10Hull49

As part of the research, Motorfinity also asked police forces for the number of counts of dangerous driving incidents, of which the city of Oxford came first with 480 counts, followed by 363 for Bradford.

Top five cities with the most dangerous driving incidents

CityDangerous driving incidents in 2021
1Oxford480
2Bradford363
3Leeds321
4Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton (combined)178
5Newport121

Motorfinity CEO Daniel Briggs believes that, although all the top 10 cities in the list are very busy urban areas, it doesn’t necessarily follow that more motorists means more anger.

He said: “The fact that the top few cities have so many more incidents than others suggests that drivers there may unknowingly copy each other’s bad behaviour. These results show that there are some clear hotspots when it comes to angry or impatient drivers.

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“It’s never ideal to be on the receiving end of road rage, but it’s also pretty unpleasant to be a regularly angry driver. Motoring should be an enjoyable experience, or at least one that people don’t dread.

“Given that road rage is generally considered commonplace, it’s likely that someone experiencing it has also been on the receiving end of another driver’s anger at some point. So, it’s worth remembering that a car door probably doesn’t insulate your emotions as much as you first think.”

It has been previously said that more than half of the UK’s drivers admit to regularly being angry at other motorists while they’re driving.

(Lead image: iStock)

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