2,000 sign petition calling on Welsh Government to reconsider Llanbedr bypass decision
Over 2,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Welsh Government to reconsider their decision to withdraw the Llanbedr bypass scheme.
It was announced last month that the Welsh Government had pulled the plug on the much-delayed £14m project.
The Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters, said that instead, he would provide funding for an “alternative package of measures to address the negative impact of traffic in Llanbedr and in other villages on the A496”.
But the Councillor who set up the petition is asking people to continue to express their dissatisfaction with the decision in the hope it could still be overturned.
“Local people’s opinion has not changed, feelings remain high following the announcement by the Deputy Minister for Climate Change to stop the development of the bypass,” said Llanbedr Councillor Annwen Hughes.
“The logic and research of the environmental report doesn’t make sense. There is no substance or depth to the work and there are pressing questions regarding the detail of the research undertaken by the Government panel.
“It is important for us to demonstrate to the Welsh Government that refusing to develop this road is having a far-reaching impact on our village and the entire coastal area of Ardudwy. The fact that we are geographically far from Cardiff, does not mean that the Welsh Government can forget about us.”
Councillor Annwen Hughes was speaking following a public meeting organised by local people last week. Nearly 200 people turned up at the Llanbedr Airport hanger on Friday afternoon.
Plaid Cymru’s Gwynedd Leader, Councillor Dyfrig Siencyn, said that he had written to the First Minister to express concern with the decision.
“There are gaps in the Welsh Government’s review and a real lack of recognition regarding the background work carried out by Gwynedd Council,” he said. “For example, a road review assessment sent to the Welsh Government in September 2021 shows that there would be a 3.6% reduction in CO2 levels in Llanbedr.
“This evidence was included in the Environmental Statement that formed part of the successful planning application. We thought there was real opportunity here to use Llanbedr as an example of good practice, with a positive response to the environmental challenge resulting in a reduction, not an increase, of CO2 traffic emissions.
“It would also have seen an improvement in regional air quality once the bypass was completed. However, it seems that this research has been completely ignored. The economic and community impact of not developing this road is huge.
“Due to these elements and a number of other ill-considered facts, I have asked our legal team to consider the validity of our legal options to the Deputy Minister, Lee Waters’ decision, to cancel the Welsh Government’s financial contractual commitment to the scheme.”
The First Minister Mark Drakeford responded to a question from the Dwyfor-Meirionnydd Senedd Member, Mabon ap Gwynfor, about the cancellation of the bypass last Wednesday.
Mark Drakeford said that they had undertaken the review because it was a fundamental part of the Welsh Government’s response to the environmental emergency.
“What we are doing is trying to be clear with people in Wales that we can’t continue to build new roads as the default solution to transport challenges,” he said.
“That’s why we’ve asked the panel to undertake the work that we’ve asked them to do, and that’s why we’ve done it the way that we’ve asked them to do it.
“I know that people in the Member’s constituency have had concerns about the choices that have been made after the panel looked into the new roads that were going to be built around the Llanbedr community. However, that’s what the purpose of the review was—to examine the case for new roads.
“When the review panel came to the conclusion that other options offered better opportunities to reduce carbon and air pollution, that’s what the Minister has accepted, and those are the things that the review group will look at wherever new roads are considered.”
Mabon ap Gwynfor had asked why the review was excluding heavy industry link roads which are the most polluting but halting light industry link road developments which serve rural areas, such as Llanbedr.
“The First Minister’s answers are not satisfactory,” he said. “The costs involved in the work to date, which is taxpayers’ money, is enough to call into question the end of developing this bypass. This does not take into account the costs other organisations and businesses have spent drafting tenders and plans.
“Refusing the development on environmental grounds is scientifically questionable as Gwynedd Council’s evidence clearly shows that significant carbon emission savings can be made by developing a bypass and reducing the speed. The populated urban areas have made significant investments in their infrastructure over the decades, which has led to attracting wealth and quality jobs to their areas.
“This investment on the Ardudwy coast is small compared to what these larger areas receive, but this is absolutely necessary. The residents of Llanbedr have a just cause here, to benefit their health, safety, and community well-being. The need for the bypass is clear.”