Changes to road policy  in Wales ‘the most significant change over last 20 years,’ says Cycling UK 

A major review of road-building policy in Wales has been welcomed as “the most significant change in UK roads building policy over the last 20 years,” by charity Cycling UK.  

On Tuesday 14th February, the Welsh Government released its response to proposals on the future of roads policy in the nation, with a significant focus on net zero aims and the reallocation of road space for active travel.

The review dates back to June 2021, when the Deputy Minister for Climate Change announced a review of new road schemes funded by the Welsh Government. 

The Roads Review panel was then established to conduct the review, with membership made up of independent experts in transport policy, climate change, highway engineering, and the freight and logistics sector. 

In initial reaction to the Welsh Government’s Roads Review response, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns,  Duncan Dollimore, said: “The Welsh Government’s Roads Review marks the most significant change in UK roads building policy over the last 20 years. The proposals are bold in principle and forward looking as they realise the economic benefit of placing people and the environment at the heart of transport policy.

“This is a marked shift from other UK administrations’ simplistic and outdated views of building more roads as the answer to all transport woes from congestion to poor air quality.”

The Welsh Government in its Roads Review has said it will apply four test to all future projects before committing to building them.

Read more: Thieves jailed after ram-raiding e-bike store and leading police on dangerous chase 

Future road investment for projects will be considered if plans will:

  • reduce carbon emissions and support a shift to public transport, walking and cycling;
  • improve safety through small-scale changes;
  • help the Welsh government adapt to the impacts of climate change; and
  • provide connections to jobs and areas of economic activity, in a way that maximises the use of public transport, walking and cycling.

In its response to the review, the Welsh Government said: “Reducing and re-prioritising our investment on new road schemes and increasing our investment in sustainable modes will assist modal shift, but it will also deliver wider benefits. These include less air pollution, more successful town and neighbourhood centres and a transport system that is accessible and fair for all. We recognise that this is a big and difficult change, that it won’t happen overnight, and it requires us to work collaboratively, across Government and beyond.” 

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