THE Welsh Government will spend millions of pounds on taking down 20mph speed limit signs – as it prepares to bring in new 20mph speed limits across the country.

The default speed limit on most roads in built-up areas will drop from 30mph to 20mph in September as part of a plan to improve road safety.

And it is because 20mph is the new "default" speed that the government has ruled there is no need for so many signs to be left up.

So-called "repeater signs" - small circular signs typically on lampposts to remind drivers of the speed limit - "will not be permitted on the new 20mph restricted roads", the Welsh Government confirmed in a document released under a Freedom of Information Act request.


The government also said councils' highways departments "will have 12 months grace period after September 17 before they need to remove those signs".

The costs of the new 20mph policy are high. Last month, the County Times' sister paper the South Wales Argus reported how ministers had given £600,000 to Newport City Council alone, just to cover changes in signage.

The government document shows "we do not have a figure for the number of signs that will be involved" across Wales.

But nationwide, the "estimated cost for changes to traffic signs and road markings is £26.7 million".

The Welsh Government claims the sums spent on changing roads to 20mph will soon be recouped because fewer accidents and injuries will save the NHS money.

What will happen to Wales' 20mph signs once they are all taken down?

They could be heading eastwards into England, where the default speed limit will remain at 30mph.

"We have been working closely with highway authorities in Wales and the English border to encourage the reuse of redundant Welsh 20mph signs in England," the Welsh Government document reads.

"Any signs that are not suitable for reuse will be recycled."