Road-building projects across Wales have been halted as part of a ground-breaking policy.
It assessed more than 50 schemes against a series of tests on their impact on the climate emergency.
The planned third Menai bridge will no longer go ahead.
Nor will the controversial “red route” in Flintshire.
The move is part of the Welsh government’s National Transport Plan and follows a year-long review.
Road projects in Wales must pass “strict criteria”
All future roads must now pass strict criteria.
This means they must NOT:
- Increase carbon emissions
- Increase the number of cars on the road
- Lead to higher speeds and higher emissions
- Negatively impact the environment.
There has been a mixed reaction to the announcement with environmental campaigners supporting the Welsh Government decision, whilst business leaders raise concerns that it may impact on the economy.
Lee Waters, the deputy climate change minister, said:
“When we published the Wales Transport Strategy two years ago, we committed to start upon a llwybr newydd – a new path.
The publication of this Roads Review, along with the National Transport Delivery Plan, and our new Roads Policy Statement, represents a major step forward on that journey.
Let me be very clear at the outset, we will still invest in roads. In fact, we are building new roads as I speak – but we are raising the bar for where new roads are the right response to transport problems.
We are also investing in real alternatives, including investment in rail, bus, walking and cycling projects.
With fewer resources it becomes even more important to prioritise and the Roads Review helps us to do that.”
Future road investment
Going forward, the Welsh Government will only consider future road investment for projects that:
- reduce carbon emissions and support a shift to public transport, walking and cycling
- improve safety through small-scale change
- 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
In developing schemes, the focus should be on minimising carbon emissions, not increasing road capacity, not increasing emissions through higher vehicle speeds and not adversely affecting ecologically valuable sites.
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