Monthly Archives: June 2021

Welsh Government Moratorium on Road Building

The Welsh Government has announced a freeze on new road-building while a review of highway schemes across Wales is carried out.  Deputy minister for climate change Lee Waters told the Senedd this week that reaching the goal of net-zero carbon  emissions by 2050 would require a huge effort: ‘In the next 10 years we are going to need to more than double all the cuts we have managed over the last 30 years if we are going to keep temperature rises within safe limits…..Transport makes up some 17 per cent of our total emissions and so must play its part.’  The decision does not appear to favour a Chepstow by-pass unless other measures demonstrably cannot deal with the town’s traffic pollution.

Another Active Travel Consultation

Following an earlier consultation Monmouthshire CC is now seeking views on the final Active Travel Network Maps for the county’s towns and larger villages.  Go to Have Your Say Today – Teithio Llesol Sir Fynwy / Monmouthshire Active Travel – Commonplace.  The maps will help in determining priorities for investment in cycling and walking facilities, a policy priority of Welsh Government likely to receive more as funding for new roads seems likely to recede.  The consultation deadline is 31 August.

The End of the Relief Road?

The Welsh Government has removed the route corridor protection for the abandoned M4 Relief Road, enabling planning authorities and those interested in enhancing the wildlife future of the corridor to review their intentions for the area.  This decision also defies any moves by the UK Government to reverse or overrule the Welsh Government’s decision not to proceed with the Relief Road.

Challenges for Government

As the Climate Change Committee (CCC) says that action in the UK to improve its resilience to the climate crisis is ‘failing’ to keep pace with the impacts of a warming planet, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford this week set out his administration’s programme for the next five years – one which has many green commitments.  CCC’s evidence shows the gap between the level of risk the UK faces and the level of adaption under way has widened, and that even action now to achieve the Paris agreement temperature goal for 2050 and as part of the levelling-up agenda will not stop climate change and the rise in sea levels.

Drakeford has insisted that climate change and the environment will be at the heart of the new government, stressing that his administration had created a “super-ministry” under Julie James with Lee Waters as her Deputy, which for the first time has brought together transport, planning, housing and energy.  Welsh Government – Programme for Government sets out across-the-board commitments to address well-being objectives for the next five years.  Welcome though many of the intentions are, the Programme illustrates how much we must rely on UK Government action to address the CCC concerns.