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Welsh minister announces commission to look at transport schemes in the north of Wales

10 Feb 2022 4 minutes Read
The new Stadler FLIRT. Picture by Transport for Wales. Lee Waters picture by the Welsh Government.

A new transport commission that will “develop a pipeline of transport schemes” for the north of Wales has been announced today by the Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters.

The year-long review will develop recommendations for road, rail, bus and active travel across the whole of the north of the country.

The North Wales Transport Commission follows the model of the commission set-up after the cancellation of the M4 relief road to look at alternative transport schemes in south-east Wales.

As with the commission in the south-east it will also be led by Lord Terry Burns, former Permanent Secretary of the UK Treasury.

The announcement follows recommendations from the Welsh Government’s Roads Review Panel and the recently published Union Connectivity Review by Network Rail Chair Sir Peter Hendy for a ‘multi-modal’ review of the A55 corridor.

This step follows on from the advice of the Roads Review Panel to cancel current plans for the A55 Junction 14/15 and 16/16A improvements scheme, which Ministers have agreed.

Official portrait of Lord Burns. UK Parliament (CC 3.0)

Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters said: “If we are serious about facing up to the Climate Emergency, we have to be willing to do things differently, and critically to give people across north Wales genuine alternatives to using their cars for most journeys.

“As well as looking at the A55 corridor, the North Wales Transport Commission will also look at how we can improve sustainable transport options in rural areas. This will need a shift of investment towards public transport and I’m very pleased Lord Burns has agreed to lead a panel of local experts to set out a detailed list of projects that will be needed to make this a reality.

“This does not mean the end of road building, but it does mean a greater emphasis on looking after the roads we already have as well as investing in alternatives to give people a real choice.”

‘Fewer cars’

Emissions from transport will need to be cut by around a half if Wales is to hit its net zero ambitions by 2050, the Welsh Government has said.

In the new transport strategy published last year, it said that “we need to change the way we travel. We need fewer cars on our roads, and more people using public transport, walking or cycling”.

The same report said that “emissions from surface transport must be roughly halved between 2020 and 2030 from 6 to 3 million tonnes Carbon Dioxide”.

However, the freeze on new road schemes, particularly the A55 and M4, has been criticised by the UK Government.

“We mustn’t fall into the trap of thinking the M4 or A55 are just Welsh roads,” Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said last June after the freeze was announced.

“They are as important to people on the English side of the border and they are UK wide assets. If we are not able to improve them, then we are not just impeding economic recovery in Wales, but also the rest of the UK and beyond.

“[The decision] is a pity, I’m assuming they are looking through this as net zero, but that doesn’t rely on a total freeze on road infrastructure in Wales.”

The Welsh Government’s decision not to proceed with the much-delayed £14m Llanbedr bypass project also attracted criticism from Plaid Cymru, with the leader of Gwynedd Council Dyfrig Siencyn saying he was “furious”.

He said that such decisions in areas with very little public transport meant that they were now “consigned into economic deserts and empty communities”.

Lee Waters said at the time that 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”.


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GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
3 months ago

The train system is an absolute rip off here in Wales. Its like a third of the price if you go by car. For example, it cost me and my mate over 100 quid each to get a return ticket to Cardiff while it cost us about 30 quid each to drive there and back. That’s a 70 quid difference for each of us. Seeing as our trains are nationalised and we want to stop wrecking the planet, lower the prices of train tickets. Give us a reason to use them.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
3 months ago

The only reason the A55 was built was to make it easier for the English to steal our natural resources.Same with the railway system.

Richard
Richard
3 months ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

Wow ! Thsts a new one mate . Just tell it as how you feel it is ! Those of us who live , use and experience the A55 each day – perhaps have other thoughts .. You may find the euro link ( and monies ) had a touch to do with it .. The 1848 Railway and its host of pre Beeching feeder lines you may find were there for the Coal, State, Copper, Farming and Milk and home to work needs. Indeed Tourism aka ‘ Bradshaw’ Rail Holiday Guides plus associated hotels were another reason for their… Read more »

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
3 months ago

I am keen to see both his ideas and the money…There was a blimp that flew from Llanbedr for a while but this sounds more hot air driven Mr Waters…

hdavies15
hdavies15
3 months ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Hot air is exceedingly plentiful in the vicinity of our politicians. As I’ve said elsewhere today a more balanced approach would be to carry on with works already agreed and draw a line to exclude any more major road build projects. Not that I would agree with that but it would be somewhat more rational to work that way.

Mr Williams
Mr Williams
3 months ago

Looking forward to seeing the recommendations. We really need better public transport in the north.

Grayham Jones
3 months ago

Kick all English party’s out of wales that’s the Tories Labour and all Brexit party’s we
In wales must run wales not outsiders it’s time for a new wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Carol Loughlin
Carol Loughlin
3 months ago
Reply to  Grayham Jones

*Wales

Quornby
Quornby
3 months ago

What does he know about railways?

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