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Saturday, March 20, 2021

Welsh Government unveils its new transport plan

A pledge to increase the number of people using public transport, walking and cycling sits at the heart of the Welsh Governments new Transport Strategy.

The new strategy – the result of a major consultation over the last year - aims to encourage people out of their cars, with a new target for 45% of journeys to be by sustainable means across Wales by 2045, up from 32% currently.

Llwybr Newydd – New Path commits to reducing transport emissions as part of efforts to tackle the climate emergency. Currently transport makes up 17% of Wales’ carbon emissions.

The strategy comes as more than £210m is being invested across Wales in 2021/22.

More than £115m is being allocated to local authorities to spend on transport projects that will support the commitments in Llwybr Newydd.

Another investment will see £25m to support the Wrexham Gateway project, creating better connected bus and rail transport and redevelopment of the area around Wrexham General.

During 2021/22 £75m will be spent on active travel, an increase from £5m at the start of this Welsh Government term.

Ken Skates, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, said: “Llwybr Newydd is a landmark moment and will help to fundamentally re-shape transport in Wales.  It will encourage new and greener infrastructure and change the way we make decisions about investment in transport right across the country.

“The climate emergency is very real and it means we must take urgent action to reduce the carbon footprint of the transport system in Wales. That’s why we have set bold new targets for more sustainable transport forms like walking, cycling and public transport.  This will help reduce reliance on the car by making the sustainable alternatives more appealing.

“Doing this means investing in high quality public transport alternatives and that’s why we are providing more than £210m in transport schemes that will contribute to ambitions in our new plan.

“We’ve made a good start, with major investment in things like Metro, but we know we need to go further and faster and Llwybr Newydd sets us on the path to a transport system genuinely fit for future generations.”

As part of the £115m investment being announced in local authority funding, nearly £47m is being spent on active travel schemes, helping develop routes that support walking and cycling.

A further £6.4m is being committed through the Safe Routes in Communities fund, with a particular focus on school routes. Another £20m will be confirmed through the Active Travel Fund later in the financial year, taking the total dedicated active travel spend to £75m – up from £5m at the start of this Senedd term.

The Road Safety Capital grant is worth £5.1m and will include funding to support training initiatives to improve safety for cyclists.

The Local Transport Fund will commit £28.9m to projects to support Wales’ transport network. Applications were assessed against the sustainable transport hierarchy set out in Llwybr Newydd, with emphasis given to improving public transport reliability and journey times.

A further £9m has been allocated to local authorities to move to zero emission vehicles and to roll-out charging infrastructure. Next week the Welsh Government will also publish its Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy to boost confidence for drivers wanting to use electric vehicles.

The Roads Resilience Fund, worth £17.4m, is in place to address disruptions caused by severe weather to the highway network, especially to the public transport network.

Another £3m is being committed to the North Wales Metro, helping to create an accessible, integrated transport system for people in the region.

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