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New Welsh transport strategy shapes up

Words: Roger Milne
Cardiff / Shutterstock_716864656

Welsh ministers have launched a strategy for consultation that lays the groundwork for a new transport policy.

With transport currently responsible for 17 per cent of the country’s carbon emissions, the Welsh Government has committed to set new and stretching five year priorities to tackle carbon emissions as it seeks to meet decarbonisation targets.

The draft strategy, Llwybr Newydd – New Path, sets out a range of new ambitions to reshape transport in Wales, including a new sustainable transport hierarchy that will guide investments towards greener transport options.

Transport minister Ken Skates said it was a "once in a generation" moment to put public transport at the heart of Wales’s future.

The strategy recognises that patterns of less commuting and more home working are likely to continue.

The administration has already outlined its long-term ambition for 30 per cent of the workforce to work from home or remotely, achieved by giving people more choice over how and where they work. The strategy accepts that more local services and more active travel can mean fewer people needing to use their cars daily.

The blueprint sets out four long-term ambitions for the transport system in Wales, delivered through a set of five-year priorities. These include more active travel, more local services, growth in public transport use, electrification and more affordable and sustainable transport choices.

The strategy also contains nine ‘mini-plans’ for modes and sectors: active travel; rail; bus; roads (including streets and parking); the third sector; taxis and private hire vehicles; freight and logistics; and ports, maritime transport and aviation.

Lee Waters, deputy transport minister, said: “We’ve reached the point where travelling by car is seen as the easiest way to get around for most people. If we are to succeed in tackling climate change that has to change, but it’s going to take a big effort to encourage people to consider alternatives.

“We will only succeed in persuading people to alter their habits if we make the alternative to using the car more attractive. And that’s the task our new transport strategy sets itself.”

Speaking to AMs this week he stressed the strategy was  a “20-year vision”, the detail of which would be delivered by a national delivery plan drawn up by Transport for Wales, supported by regional transport plans, and developed by the new-look joint transport committees.

Promised is an action plan for demand management, which would explore ways of reducing the overall need to use cars on a daily basis. It would bring together land-use planning and transport planning alongside regeneration and digital strategies.

The blueprint highlighted the need to integrate bus and rail services with active travel and to introduce “equitable road charging” in urban areas. Also proposed is collaboration between government departments to ensure that the availability of bus services is a key consideration in new developments.

In future, the government will support interventions that shift freight from road to rail and water, and will integrate freight and logistics into updated planning guidance for transport.

The consultation can be found on the Welsh Government website.

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