A magistrate in North Wales has stepped down from his role after 18 years in protest at the new default speed limit of 20mph.

Nick Colbourne, a former police officer and Wrexham county councillor, said he felt “uneasy” about punishing people for breaking a law he deemed to be unfair.

“I’m not going to do it,” he told the County Times’ sister paper the Leader.

“I’m not going to punish somebody for doing 24 or 25mph in a 20mph zone.”

Colbourne said he had been considering leaving his role for some time, but the 20mph speed limit cemented his decision.

“I’ve had enough of the bureaucracy and the lack of appreciation for magistrates,” he said.

“But the main reason is the 20mph speed limit. I think it’s a draconian measure and I’m not going to be part of it.”

The Welsh government introduced the default 20mph speed limit in September 2023 in an effort to improve road safety and reduce air pollution.

The government said the new speed limit was saving lives and making communities safer.

However, some critics have argued that the limit is too low and that it is unfairly penalising motorists.

Colbourne is not the only magistrate to have stepped down over the 20mph speed limit. In September 2023, a magistrate in Pembrokeshire also resigned in protest at the new law.

The resignations of Colbourne and the other magistrate have raised concerns about the impact of the 20mph speed limit on the magistracy.

Some magistrates have expressed concern that they will be forced to choose between their conscience and their duty to uphold the law.

The Welsh government has said that it will continue to work with the magistracy to ensure that the 20mph speed limit is enforced fairly and proportionately.


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