Wales has halted all major road construction projects

Britain's Bridge

Due to environmental concerns, all significant road construction projects in Wales have been shelved.

Both the contentious Red Route in Flintshire and plans for a third Menai bridge will not move forward.

Following a year-long review, the action is a component of the Welsh government's National Transport Plan.

While some in the construction industry cautioned the announcement could endanger jobs, environmental activists praised it as "world-leading and brave.".

A senior minister claimed that industry subsidies have not yet been determined beyond the summer, prompting accusations that the Welsh government is endangering bus services.

The Welsh government declared that all future roads must meet strict requirements, including that they must not increase carbon emissions, increase the number of vehicles on the road, lead to higher speeds and higher emissions, or have a negative impact on the environment.

However, Ken Skates argued that the Welsh government's choices regarding the north's roads should be made locally.

Mr. Skates, a former Welsh transport minister and Clwyd South Senedd member, said that clarity regarding how transportation in north Wales would be improved was required.

In his words, "I firmly believe that decisions regarding roads, buses, rail, and active travel are best made at a regional level.

"Let's start with our main roads and devolve to the north. ".

We won't reach net-zero unless we stop doing the same thing over and over, Lee Waters, the deputy minister for climate change, said in a statement to the Senedd. ".

The deputy minister insisted that additional roads would be constructed in the future but added that the government was "raising the bar" to make sure that any additional roads were "the right response to transportation problems.".

An M4 relief road to reduce traffic around Newport has been discussed for a while.

The Welsh government declared in 2021 that a review of roads was being done.

A panel of experts, chaired by Lynn Sloman, a transportation consultant, evaluated 59 road projects and provided recommendations on which ones should be carried out, which ones should be abandoned, and which ones should be given another look.

15 of these will be implemented; the remaining 14 have either been rejected or will be revised.

But in order to be built, these and all upcoming projects must meet a new set of stringent requirements.

The Welsh government won't take into account new projects unless they help the country adapt to climate change, lower carbon emissions, encourage people to use public transportation, walk and bike more, and make small but significant changes to increase safety.

In order to maximize the use of public transportation, walking, and cycling, they must also offer connections to jobs and areas of economic activity.

Red Route start at Northop
From Northop through to the English border, the "red route" would have been followed.

Flintshire's contentious Red Route won't proceed as scheduled. The A494 at Aston Hill will be improved in its place.

The review of ways to reduce traffic, increase the resiliency of the current bridges, and encourage people to use other modes of transportation has taken the place of plans for a third Menai crossing between Anglesey and the mainland.

A review will be set up to consider an "exemplar" project to cut down on driving, and improvements to the A483 near Wrexham will also be abandoned.

There will only be a few minor road improvements made.

The largest of those is the A4042 corridor, which passes through Torfaen and connects Pontypool to the M4; this review had been put on hold during that time.

Similar upgrades will be made to the A487 between Fishguard and Cardigan as well as the A4076 in Haverfordwest.

The announcement has been hailed as "world-leading" by environmentalists.

"We were seeing this review as a test of the Welsh government," said Haf Elgar of Friends of the Earth Cymru.

"Will they have the courage to walk the talk, not just to declare that there is a climate emergency, but to actually make those difficult decisions and alter the course of Wales' future?".

Today, I believe we are witnessing that.

"I believe that this is a new beginning in which we are witnessing the implementation of significant changes that will lead to a greener and healthier future. ".

However, the construction sector is concerned that jobs will be lost and is requesting clarification from the Welsh government on upcoming infrastructure investments.

The Gwent Levels
The M4 relief road was supposed to be constructed through the Gwent Levels, but plans were changed due to environmental concerns.

"It's a huge announcement, there's no doubt about that," said Ed Evans, director of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association.

"What we've just been through has created uncertainty, but we can start to get clarity on investments in infrastructure, whether that's maintaining what we've got or new investment in energy, for example, then that will go a long way to ensure that jobs, businesses, and communities are safeguarded," says the author. ".

Sustrans' Christine Boston continued: "If we're serious about addressing the climate crisis challenge, we need to transform our society into one that supports multi-modal transportation.

"We need to keep investing in the infrastructure that supports walking, bicycling, and using public transportation if we want people to do so. ".

Welsh Tories' Andrew RT Davies tweeted: "Labour ministers in the Senedd won't build new roads in Wales because they'll 'induce demand'.

"Because it is obvious that promoting more tourism to Wales and bringing more money into our economy is a bad idea. ".

The leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jane Dodds, praised the news.

"For too long, we've spent millions on brand-new roads with no real improvements in traffic or road safety," she said.

. "

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