New speed limits in Wales will not end private vehicle ownership

By: Ankita Kulkarni
September 6 2023

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New speed limits in Wales will not end private vehicle ownership


The Verdict False

The 20 mph speed limits aims to reduce road accidents and safeguard environment. Claims that it will end private vehicle ownership are conspiratorial.

Claim ID d5de8012

What is the claim?

A video circulating on Facebook claims that new 20 mph (miles per hour) speed limits in Wales are part of plans to take away the public right to own private vehicles. The video features Katie Hopkins, a conspiracy theorist who regularly posts misinformation videos on different conspiracy theories, where she states that the strategic plan is to “make it as inconvenient as possible to use your car in order to change your behavior, and we begin the process of taking away the right to own the private vehicle.” She also claimed that all the areas “where there was 30 mph as the default speed setting will now be changed to 20 mph.”

Screengrab of the claim (Source: TikTok/Screenshot)

The post received 200,000 views and 5,500 likes at the time of writing the story.

However, the claims made in the video are incorrect. 

What did we find?  

The new 20 mph speed limits on cars and vehicles in Wales will be enforced on September 17, 2023. According to details available on the Welsh Government website, the new legislation states that motorists have to limit their speed to 20 mph in residential and built-up areas where there is high pedestrian activity.

It explains that the new rules aim to make roads safer and reduce the environmental impact of cars. Further, not all the areas with 30 mph default speed are being changed to 20 mph, as claimed in the viral post. The website states, “We recognise not all roads with a currently at 30 mph limit will be suitable to change to 20 mph. These roads will be known as exceptions. Local authorities will consider with their communities which roads should remain at 30mph and there will be 30mph signs to tell you this.”

The viral video also claims that the initiative would restrict car movement in such areas. However, this is not true. An explanatory video on the Welsh Government's official YouTube channel shows that while cars and vehicles keep moving in the area at 20 mph, it would be convenient for people to cycle and walk. The rules do not restrict the movement of cars but reduce the speed of vehicles for safety purposes. 

Screengrab showing the YouTube video (Source: Welsh Government)

There is no mention that the initiative will end the public right to own a private vehicle. It is only limiting the speed in certain areas to reduce road accidents and make it safer for people to commute safely without a car.

The viral video links the initiative to conspiracy theories about 15-minute cities, stating that governments plan to restrict people's movement and then take over private car ownership. The claims that it will end private car ownership are part of the Agenda 2030 conspiracy theory, which falsely claims that governments and organizations like the World Economic Forum (WEF) are trying to control the public.

The verdict

The default 20 mph speed setting is being implemented to ensure road safety and has nothing to do with ending private car ownership. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.  

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before