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Welsh Government road freeze ‘nonsense logic’ says Welsh Secretary Simon Hart

07 Jul 2021 3 minute read
Simon Hart (left) by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0). Right, the road through Llanymynech.

The Secretary of State for Wales has accused the Welsh Government of using “nonsense logic” after their decision to impose a blanket freeze on major road projects.

Lee Waters MS, the Deputy Minister for Climate Change, announced a freeze on all new road-building projects in Wales last month while a review is carried out by the Welsh Government.

Simon Hart MP was visiting Montgomeryshire with Conservative MP Craig Williams when he made the comments while speaking with My Welshpool.

“I remember it being a problem when I lived in the area 25 years ago, so this [the bypass] has been a long time coming,” he said, referring to the Llanymynech-Pant Bypass which is one of the projects put on hold.

“I think what is really confusing, and quite frustrating, is the fact that we are not going to solve the climate change problem just by making our roads worse. That’s a nonsense logic.

“Of course our economy depends on good roads, good connectivity, particularly cross-border.

“This, to me, seems like a crazy project to bin at this stage because this is an English-Welsh project that joins the two economies together in a really positive way.

“There is no obvious reason why this should be paused. And the idea that somehow there might be some sort of climate change advantage from doing that, I’m afraid, is not being met by anyone from the local community or businesses that depend on this road.”

‘Modal shift’

Announcing the freeze last month, Lee Waters said he had to take action to “significantly cut carbon emissions”.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Speaking later in the Senedd, he said that the Senedd was going to have to face up to the problem of poor air quality.

“There is a vision for simply building bypasses all across Wales, to shift the problem from one place to another. I’m not convinced entirely that that deals with the issue of air quality,” he said.

“Clearly, as tailpipe emissions fall away, as cars are increasingly electrified, that’s going to have a significant impact on local air quality within town centres, and behaviour change is a very important part of it, too.

“If we can achieve modal shift, we can reduce traffic, we can reduce pollution and we can reduce congestion.”

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2 years ago

And here comes the Viceroy of Wales – from the tinpot Theocratic Empire of Brexistan – banging on about things that are nothing to do with him AGAIN. QUESTIONS: Was Westminster’s freeze on ALL national Infrastructure projects so they could be reviewed “logical nonsense”? Even though all projects went ahead as planned with nothing to show for it apart from unnecessary delay costs? Was Westminster’s freeze on a well advanced HS2 so it could be reviewed “logical nonsense”? Even though the project is going ahead as planned with nothing but £50m in delay costs to show for the whole thing?… Read more »

O Rob
O Rob
2 years ago

Simon Hart is the most pointless person in Cymru

Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
2 years ago

Perhaps Mr Hart can inform us how on earth the Welsh Government can obey UK law as passed by his party at Westminster?

UK enshrines new target in law to slash emissions by 78% by 2035.

Ken covack
Ken covack
2 years ago

Despite Hart being a windbag, he is about as useful to Wales as a fart at a wind turbine, he is a Westminster appointed stooge, with no true idea of what being in Wales is all about, no idea what the people of Wales want, or indeed, need. Hart is a self-opinionated muppet with big Brexit bright ideals of empire and grandeur beyond the Westminster bubble, implanted and directed by despot Pol Pot Johnson, who, well and truly has no grip on reality whatsoever, trying to impress the tory faithful in his little shire in Wales, of Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire… Read more »

2 years ago

Boris’s Garden Bridge, Boris Island (a proposal to build a new airport for London and not some bizarre version of Love Island), the tunnel/bridge connecting Scotland and Northern Ireland, the Thames Cable Car. Are these “logical nonsense” as well?

2 years ago
Reply to  Bruce

None of these are of any relevance to Cymru. Of more immediate concern is Hart’s insistence on improvements to east-west tourist routes into this country and his promoting of his predecessor Cairns’ use of these roads to speed up the conversion of Welsh villages into commuter suburbs of Bristol and Chester as well as making the Welsh economy further dependent on that of its big neighbour. My response to Hart would be that I’ve no truck with his economic arguments for Westminster-sanctioned road schemes, because Wales is perfectly capable of tailoring its economic growth to its own needs and taking… Read more »

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