Wales makes “most significant change to UK roads-building policy in last 20 years”
The Welsh Government has again ripped up the rule book with a visionary approach to transport thinking designed to reduce carbon emissions from transport, that is in stark contrast to other UK governments, says Cycling UK.
The government’s response to the Roads Review, along with its Transport Delivery Plan, also published today, follows a year-long review and sets strict criteria for future roads building.
Future investment for new roads in Wales will now only be granted if plans show they will:
- reduce carbon emissions and support a shift to public transport, walking and cycling
- improve safety through small-scale changes
- help the Welsh Government adapt to the impacts of climate change
- provide connections to jobs and areas of economic activity, in a way that maximises the use of public transport, walking and cycling
The government policy was announced in the Senedd by Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters AM, who said the change in policy was a response to the failure of 70 years of roads building.
“We will not get to net zero unless we stop doing the same thing over and over,” he said.
We will not get to net zero unless we stop doing the same thing over and over
Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters AM
“None of this is easy but neither is the alternative.”
While Cycling UK still needs to delve into the detail of the Welsh Government’s announcement, the charity has praised the principles behind the news today.
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, said: “The Welsh Government’s response to the Roads Review marks the most significant change in UK roads-building policy over the last 20 years.
“The proposals are bold in principle and forward looking as they realise the economic benefit of placing people and the environment at the heart of transport policy.”
Drawing distinction between the Welsh Government and other UK governments’ approach to road building, Mr Dollimore added: “This is a marked shift from other UK administrations’ simplistic and outdated views of building more roads as the answer to all transport woes from congestion to poor air quality.”
The Welsh Government’s response to the Roads Review marks the most significant change in UK roads building policy over the last 20 years
Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK head of campaigns
The Roads Review was initially announced in 2021 and developed by an expert panel, led by transport consultant Lynn Sloman. It assessed 59 road projects in Wales and made recommendations on how to proceed.
There are 15 projects which will go ahead, with the remainder now needing to be revised with a view to meeting the new criteria or face cancellation in the future.