Senedd member denies Tories are ‘anti-environment’
A Senedd member has denied that the Tories are “anti-environment”.
Natasha Asghar MS, the Conservative shadow Minister for Transport and Technology has defended the party’s decision to oppose the Welsh Government’s freeze on all new road-building projects in Wales while a review is carried out.
She branded the move as “knee jerk” and claimed that congestion on Welsh roads is “having major health and environmental impacts on the people of Wales”.
When announcing the freeze Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters said he had to take action to “significantly cut carbon emissions”.
On the conservative-leaning website Gwydir, Asghar wrote: “Their failure to address rising congestion, as well as the poor standards of public transport, is having major health and environmental impacts on the people of Wales.
“Each time Welsh Conservatives make this point, we are branded as being ‘anti-environment’ which we most certainly are not.
“Wales has some of the worst air quality in the UK and congestion on Welsh roads is a major factor in this.
“Stop-start traffic not only emits more greenhouse gasses than free flowing traffic, it also causes more particulate pollution to be emitted.
“I’m a believer in progress and it is a fact that a constant flow of traffic will reduce the amount of particulate matter released by break and tyre wear, as well as reducing the carbon dioxide that the acceleration of cars produces.
“The Welsh Government declared a climate change emergency in 2019.
“Their failure to address climate change has resorted to knee jerk reactions such as the freezing of road building projects rather than improving public transport and easing congestion on Welsh Roads.”
When announcing the freeze, Lee Waters MS, the Deputy Minister for Climate Change, said: “Today, in my role as Deputy Climate Change Minister I’m announcing a pause in all roads schemes not under construction while we review how much headroom we have keep building new roads and meet our Net Zero emissions targets by 2050.
“I’m asking a panel of experts to look at when new roads are justified – for safety or access reasons for example and how we can redirect funding to roads maintenance and public transport.
“A Climate emergency demands that we do things differently.”