THERE have been at least 145 incidents of damage to speed limits signs across Gwent since September when the 20 mile per hour maximum came in. 

In the previous five years there were just 101 such incidents recorded by the area’s five councils. 

Figures show the highest number of incidents of vandalism or damage to speed limit signs were recorded in the Torfaen and Caerphilly borough council areas. 

The new default speed limit – which reduced the maximum speed vehicles can travel at from 30mph to 20 in most residential areas – came into force on September 17 last year and prompted a public backlash that led to more than 469,000 people signing a petition to “rescind and remove the disastrous” lower limit. 

The Welsh Government provided £34 million to Wales’ 22 councils for new signs required to alert drivers of the speed limit and since September there have been multiple reports of 20mph signs being vandalised, often with black spray paint obscuring the 20 figures. 

In Monmouthshire the council said since September it had recorded “at least 22” incidents of vandalism or damage to speed limit signs and it had “multiple” reports, which it described as at least four, in just three locations. 

The 20mph limit was trialled in Abergavenny and the Severnside area, including Caldicot, from 2022, and there had also been criticism and objections to the lower limit at that time. 

But Monmouthshire council reported just two incidents of damage or vandalism to speed limit signs during the past five years. 

All councils said Welsh Government funding for new signs cover anticipated repair costs. 

Gwent Police figures show the force has recorded two incidents of vandalism to speed signs since September, leading to one person being arrested and charged. 

The force recorded eight incidents of speed limit sign vandalism in the five years before that, the figures show. 

Lee Waters, the Welsh Government deputy minister responsible for overseeing the 20mph policy, this week said latest figures show 97 per cent of motorists are complying with the reduced limit that is intended to lead to fewer traffic accidents, injuries and deaths.