Wales puts new road building on hold

22/06/2021
Chris Ames

The Welsh Government has announced a freeze on new road building projects, while a review of highway schemes across the country is carried out.

The recently re-elected Labour-led administration said its Programme for Government ‘shows how we will act decisively to tackle the climate emergency’.

Lee Waters (pictured), deputy minister for climate change, announced the review in the Senedd on Tuesday (22 June).

He told Assembly Members: ‘The world's scientists are telling us in very clear terms that we urgently need to cut our greenhouse gas emissions. Since 1990, Welsh emissions have fallen by 31%, but to reach our statutory target of net zero by 2050 we need to do much more.'

He added: 'As the UK Climate Change Committee reminded us last week, if we’re going to keep temperature rises within safe limits, in the next 10 years we need to more than double all the cuts we’ve managed over the last 30 years.

‘Transport makes up some 17% of our total emissions and so must play its part. Earlier this year I published the Welsh Government's new Wales transport strategy, Llwybr Newydd. It sets out a bold vision for transport in Wales over the next two decades.

'It included, for the first time, a modal shift target, which requires us to aim for 45% of journeys to be by sustainable forms of transport by 2045, up from 32% currently. To achieve these targets we need a shift away from spending money on projects that encourage more people to drive, and invest in real alternatives that give people a meaningful choice.’

The Jack Williams Gateway Bridge, part of the A465 dualling scheme

Mr Waters said the Welsh Government would publish the full terms of reference for the review and the full membership 'in due course', adding that 'all schemes where there are currently diggers in the ground' will continue, including the Llanddewi Velfrey to Redstone Cross scheme.

Conservative Natasha Asghar said the announcement would be 'met with dismay and disappointment by businesses and road users alike'.

She added: 'It's a fact that, after 22 years in power, successive Welsh Labour Governments have failed to build an adequate road network.'

The May issue of Highways magazine has an analysis of the potential impact of Llwybr Newydd on road building in the country.

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