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£7m spend on rebranding Highways England to National Highways ‘confusing’ say Welsh Government

20 Oct 2020 2 minute read
M4 traffic at Port Talbot. Picture by Ben Salter (CC BY 2.0).

The Wesh Government have said that a plan to spend £7m rebranding Highways England as ‘National Highways’ would be needlessly confusing for people in Wales.

Welsh Ministers are the highways authority and traffic authority for major roads in Wales.

A Welsh Government source told the Guardian that the rebranding would “unnecessarily confuse people as to where responsibility for roads lies – in Wales, with the Welsh government”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has already stated his intention to overrule the Welsh Government on the matter of building the M4 relief road around Newport, a scheme scrapped by First Minister Mark Drakeford.

Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts said: “Given this Westminster government’s obsession with rowing back our devolution settlement, this rebrand is wrong, self-aggrandising and offensive.

“Regardless of the UK government’s moves to undermine Welsh powers through the UK internal market bill, the fact remains that powers over the operation and maintenance of highways are fully devolved.

“It is beyond baffling that the UK government has to be reminded of this fact, over 20 years since the establishment of devolution.”


‘Look at’

In an interview with ITV earlier this month Prime Minister Boris Johnson referred specifically to the M4 bypass plan, which the Welsh Government rejected citing the £1.6bn cost and impact on the environment.

“What we’re going to do is look at projects like the relief road, and I must say it was quite extraordinary that the Labour Welsh government managed to spend £144 million on a study … which they then filed vertically,” Boris Johnson told ITV.

“So we’ll look at the relief road and look at how to relieve congestion in the Brynglas tunnels, that will certainly be one of the things that we’ll be seeing if we can take forward.”

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