Roads review: Welsh Government delay, change or scrap all projects in bid to reduce carbon emissions
Nearly all road-building projects in Wales have been delayed, changed or scrapped altogether as the Welsh Government sets out a transport plan that aims to reduce carbon emissions.
The Welsh Government says it “puts climate change at the heart of decision-making”, but political opponents say it’s “anti-car” and will harm the economy of Wales.
A total of 59 road-building schemes have been on hold since June 2021 when the Welsh Government announced that they would all be reviewed to see if they still represented value for money and met climate change targets.
The report of the review panel, headed by transport expert Dr Lynn Sloman, has today been published alongside the decisions taken by the Welsh Government.
The deputy minister for climate change said the government was “raising the bar for when new roads are the right response to transport problems.”
Any future road project proposals will have stricter criteria which will be focused on minimising carbon emissions, not increasing road capacity or emissions through higher speeds, and not negatively affecting the environment.
Two schemes are being radically altered as the plan to build a third bridge across the Menai Straits has been axed. Instead, more sustainable ways of crossing from the mainland to Anglesey are being looked at.
It comes after the Menai Suspension Bridge, one of only two route links between Wales and the Isle, was closed suddenly in October 2022 due to a “structural issue” involving the brittle hangers.
Environmental groups have welcomed the news. “It would have been all too easy to continue building roads as usual. Yet for the first time we have a Government within the UK that is prepared to do what’s best for future generations”, Paula Renzel, Welsh roads and climate campaigner for TAN Cymru said.
In addition, proposals to improve the A483 Wrexham Bypass at Junctions 3- 6 have also been dropped in favour of a new project to look at more environmentally-friendly improvements.
A total of 15 schemes are to be replaced with new projects to look at alternatives to building roads.
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