Wales needs to develop a public transport solution to get people in the south east out of their cars and ease congestion on the M4, a Welsh Government report has said.
The government today published its new draft Transport Strategy pledging a major reduction in carbon emissions from the transport network in Wales.
Among the priorities set out in the report is to “develop a fully integrated public transport solution” to M4 congestion in order to provide “a sustainable long-term alternative to private car use in south east Wales”.
The draft strategy, ‘Llwybr Newydd – New Path’, was launched on Tuesday and will shape Wales’ transport system over the next two decades, the Welsh Government said.
Published as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect daily lives, the strategy argues that patterns of less commuting and more home working are likely to continue.
Transport Minister Ken Skates said it was a “once in a generation” moment to put public transport at the heart of Wales future.
“Our public transport system is one of the most important national assets we have,” he said.
“It connects people to one another, binds communities together and enables businesses to grow and expand. It’s one of the most powerful tools for social justice and inclusive growth that we possess.
“But in 2020 we stand at an important moment in its development. Our climate is in crisis, new technology is disrupting the way we think about travel itself and Coronavirus is severely testing the financial and economic foundations of public transport models.
“Our new strategy – Llwybr Newydd – sets out a commitment to a major reduction in transport emissions so we all playing our part in the address the crisis we face. It shows how promoting social justice and tackling the climate emergency will be at the heart of our work, particularly in the context of a pandemic which is fundamentally changing the way we live, work and play.
“The shift towards a greener transport system is already underway, with record levels of investment in active travel and public transport. Llwybr Newydd is a once in a generation opportunity to reinforce and accelerate that work so that we can make our transport system in Wales genuinely fit for future for generations to come.”
Transport currently make up 17% of Wales’ carbon emissions but the Welsh Government said it has committed to set new and stretching five year priorities to tackle carbon emissions as it seeks to meet decarbonisation targets.
The government said it had a long-term ambition for 30% of the workforce to work from home or remotely, achieved by giving people more choice over how and where they work. The strategy recognises that more local services and more active travel can mean fewer people needing to use their cars daily.
Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, said Wales had reached a point where travelling by car is seen as the easiest way to get around for most people.
“If we are to succeed in tackling climate change that has to change, but it’s going to take a big effort to encourage people to consider alternatives,” he said.
“We will only succeed in persuading people to alter their habits if we make the alternative to using the car more attractive. And that’s the task our new transport strategy sets itself.”
A consultation has been launched for people to have their say on the plans, which runs until 25th January 2021.