Welsh Government places climate at heart of future road investment

TAN Cymru [1] welcomes today’s announcement by the Welsh Government to radically change the way it views future road investment. It places the climate and ecological emergency, alongside the need to reform the way we work, live and travel, at the heart of decision making, a first for any of the home nations. The announcement comes in response to the publication of the Roads Review Panel report [2]. Addressing the Senedd this afternoon, the Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters set out why change was needed and the benefits it will bring.

Future road project proposals will be subjected to four tests to determine their viability. They will have to focus on minimising carbon emissions, not increasing road capacity or emissions through higher vehicle speeds, and not adversely affecting ecologically valuable sites [3]. The announcement was also accompanied by the publication of the National Transport Delivery Plan, setting out the Welsh Government’s position on the scrutinised road schemes.

Paula Renzel, Welsh roads and climate campaigner for TAN Cymru said:

“This is a landmark announcement, with the Welsh Government placing the climate and ecological emergency at the heart of decision making. Despite their forward-thinking policies, 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.

“Today’s decisions are welcome as they provide clarity for local communities on what is going to happen. Improving transport in Wales won’t be easy, especially with the savage cuts to public funding. However, the Panel’s focus has been on seeking lower cost solutions more likely to stand the test of time. This means local communities will get their problems addressed sooner rather than later.

“Now the hard work really begins as these decisions need to lead to real change on the ground. That means local leaders need to get on board with the new process, while the Welsh Government needs to find the resources to invest in a more sustainable future. This is just the start but it gives us real hope for the future.”

– ENDS –

Notes to Editors:

[1] TAN Cymru is the Welsh branch of Transport Action Network

[2] The Roads Review Panel is an independent review panel that was appointed by the Welsh Government to review 55 road building schemes that do not yet have a spade in the ground, assessing whether they fit against the Welsh Government’s climate change and decarbonisation objectives. 

[3] The four tests recommended by the roads review panel:

  1. To support modal shift and reduce carbon emissions. 
  2. To improve safety through small-scale changes. 
  3. To adapt to the impacts of climate change. 
  4. To provide access and connectivity to jobs and centres of economic activity in a way that supports modal shift.


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