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UK Government launch England to Wales road and rail transport plan to ‘bind them closer together’

26 Nov 2021 4 minutes Read
Westminster Government Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture by Annika Haas (CC BY 2.0). Right, a GWR train at Cardiff Central station. Phot by Dai Lygad is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

The UK Government have launched a road and rail transport plan with the aim of “binding” Wales, England and the other nations of the UK “closer together”.

The Union Connectivity Review proposes major overhauls of the transport connections across the north and south of Wales and England. Branded ‘UKNET’, the finished network would see “a strategic transport network for the whole of the United Kingdom”.

The changes are recommended in the report by Sir Peter Hendy which has been published this morning.

Specifically, in Wales the plan will aim to bring about fast journey times across the border on the A55 and M4, faster journey times from England across the South Wales and North Wales main lines and rail links from the English Midlands to Cardiff.

“Each day there are approximately 80,000 crossings of the England Wales border on the M4 alone and two way flows are expected to increase by 70–80% by 2041,” the report says.

On the north of Wales it says that “the North Wales Main Line also needs to be better connected with HS2 at Crewe so that North Wales can take advantage of the benefits of HS2”.

However, the plan does not seek to undermine the Welsh Government’s decision to scrap the M4 relief road, instead saying that “the Welsh Government should
retain the option to deliver improvements to the M4, including the proposed relief road, and revisit this decision if the improvements do not reduce congestion as expected.”

Instead, the UK Government report endorses the Burns Commission which identified a package of proposed improvements in public transport to reduce demand on the M4.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that Transport was key to “binding the family of nations that is the United Kingdom closer together”.

“It is not good enough that certain areas of the UK thrive while others fall behind. We must realise our full national potential and that means mobilising the resources and skills of all parts of this country,” he said.

“I am indebted to Sir Peter for his work. We will consider his recommendations carefully, engage closely with the devolved administrations, and work collegiately to ensure these proposals strengthen the ties that bind us, now and for the future.”

‘Level up’

The main aims of the plan relevant to Wales are to:

  • Improve connectivity between North Wales and North West England on the A55, M53 and M56 roads and on the North Wales Coast Main Line for faster journey times, more resilience and capacity, utilising HS2 and electrification to better serve North Wales, and for connectivity with Northern Ireland and the Republic;
  • Relieve congestion on the M4 South Wales and England corridor by speedily implementing the Burns Commission recommendations and easing capacity restrictions at the junctions of the M4, M5 and M32;
  • Improve rail journey times and capacity to link Cardiff with the Midlands and beyond.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “If we want to truly level up the country then it’s vital that we improve connectivity between all corners of the UK, making it easier for more people to get to more places more quickly.

“Sir Peter Hendy’s review is an inspiring vision for the future of transport, which we will now consider carefully. Determined to get to work right away, we will set up a strategic UK-wide transport network that can better serve the whole country with stronger sea, rail and road links – not only bringing us closer together but boosting jobs, prosperity and opportunity.”

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “If we want to truly level up the country then it’s vital that we improve connectivity between all corners of the UK, making it easier for more people to get to more places more quickly.

“Sir Peter Hendy’s review is an inspiring vision for the future of transport, which we will now consider carefully. Determined to get to work right away, we will set up a strategic UK-wide transport network that can better serve the whole country with stronger sea, rail and road links – not only bringing us closer together but boosting jobs, prosperity and opportunity.”

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Erisian
Erisian
4 days ago

Transport is not the issue, but it seems to be that Boris likes to dream up roads, railways bridges and tunnels that come to nothing, or are cut short by his masters at the Treasury. Even if built, they will not bind us to England, especially the M4 ‘improvements, to which we have already said NO. The man is a diusingenuous idiot – thank god he’ll be gone soon. His ‘freinds’ are sharpening their knives and forming a disorderly cue behind him – even as I type. As to further growth in Traffic in the future. It is dependence of… Read more »

Last edited 3 days ago by Erisian
Cofid
Cofid
3 days ago
Reply to  Erisian

Another imperialist plot maybe, in the interest of “binding the union”, akin to the Chinese railway to Lhasa?

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
3 days ago
Reply to  Erisian

To manufacture an electric vehicle with a range of 250 miles can take 68% more emissions than a similar petrol vehicle. To get anywhere close to the targets set by this very government we need to be restricting car travel severely.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
3 days ago

No doubt it will be abandoned within a month.

Gill Jones
Gill Jones
3 days ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

Yes, once SIR Peter Hendy has had his back pocket filled, again!

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
3 days ago

An increase in traffic of 70%-80% at the same time as carbon reductions of 78% are supposed to be made?
Another example of the inability of the Anglo-Norman public school brain to join the dots.

hdavies15
hdavies15
3 days ago
Reply to  Kerry Davies

You could build a 6 lane highway through the void between his ears !

Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
3 days ago

Boris getting desperate at the thought of the end of the union?

Quornby
Quornby
3 days ago

Just as we decide to shuck off our bonds Johnson throws some crumbs. No thanks.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
3 days ago

I live 5 miles away from the Welsh / English border and the only time I ever go into England is when the train to Cardiff takes a diversion into Shrewsbury when I go and watch the footy. There is literally nothing in England that I can’t get closer to home. Absolute waste of time and money being spent on a vanity project for the English to try and control us more.

Gareth
Gareth
3 days ago

Now that the bridge and tunnel plans to Ireland have been scrapped, I am waiting for HS3 to be announced. A high speed link from London to Peppa Pig World.

Katy Fowler
Katy Fowler
3 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

🤣🤣🤣

Grayham Jones
3 days ago

Close all borders with England

Ap Kenneth
Ap Kenneth
3 days ago

Does the Union Conectivity report recommendations mean that rail will be devolved or that actual investment in rail mainline will take place as the Burns commission proposed: “Perhaps the most high profile package of recommendations from the report, the Burns Commission proposes: reconfiguring the South Wales Main Line to increase rail capacity and flexibility between Cardiff and the River Severn; a new rail station building programme to provide local, commuting services on the Main Line; new rapid bus corridors across Cardiff and Newport, connecting to the rail backbone; new commuter cycle corridors, connecting to the rail backbone and rapid bus… Read more »

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
3 days ago

At least, it appears, the UK gov.has scrapped the idea of putting a relief road through the Gwent Levels. However, 1/ transport is devolved – stay out of Wales entirely and 2/ we do not need more connections between Wales and England (we will be independent soon, trying to bind us even closer together will not stop us!), we need better connections within Wales itself. Particularly, between the north and south.

Last edited 3 days ago by Steve Duggan

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