Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport
Today I am publishing the New National Transport Plan for consultation.
Transport has a critical role to play in improving Wales’ economic competitiveness and an affordable, effective and efficient transport system also helps to tackle poverty.
When planning our investment in transport it is important to focus on how it can serve the needs of businesses, people and communities. The new National Transport Plan sets out proposals how this can be achieved.
The National Transport Plan aims to provide a fresh approach to transport planning which will allow greater flexibility and ensure that Welsh Government funding is directed to secure maximum value for money and impact. The National Transport Plan has been informed by Professor Preston’s report on Approaches to Strategic Transport Planning commissioned via the Public Policy Institute Wales. This report highlighted the need to coordinate transport planning with other aspects of planning such as land use, environment, health, education and so on. This is reflected in the range of evidence we have drawn together to inform the Plan and the further proposals outlined in the interventions, for example, to develop a regional transport model for the Cardiff Capital Region.
The National Transport Plan will help deliver the Welsh Government’s policies and the objectives for transport as set out in the Wales Transport Strategy.
Given the ongoing nature of transport investment, the draft National Transport Plan reflects our ongoing programme of investment in transport improvements. It also sets out how future schemes will be identified and developed, drawing on a much more comprehensive evidence base which will be updated regularly.
The National Transport Plan identifies national and regional transport improvements to be taken forward. Local authorities will identify the priorities for transport investment at the local level within their Local Transport Plans, which are currently under development. Whilst the National Transport Plan and Local Transport Plans recognise where responsibility for different parts of the transport system lies, the Welsh Government will engage with local authorities throughout this planning process to ensure an integrated approach between national, regional and local priorities.
Within the context of the seventeen outcomes for transport set out in the Wales Transport Strategy, the National Transport Plan focuses on delivering five key priorities:
- Economic growth: Support economic growth and safeguard jobs with a particular focus on the City Regions, Enterprise Zones and local growth zones
- Access to employment: Reduce economic inactivity by delivering safe and affordable access to employment
- Tackling poverty: Maximise the contribution that effective and affordable transport services can make to tackling poverty and target investment to support improvements in accessibility for the most disadvantaged communities
- Sustainable travel and safety: Encourage safer, healthier and sustainable travel
- Access to services: Connect communities and enable access to key services
Some of these interventions will be national whilst others will be targeting specific areas within Wales. Whilst most of the interventions appearing in the National Transport Plan will be for Welsh Government to deliver, given that not all transport services or infrastructure are devolved or our responsibility, there will be interventions for others to take forward. For example, we will confirm with the rail industry our priorities for Wales and seek to secure UK Government funding to enable their delivery.
The development of the National Transport Plan has been informed by a number of impact assessments, including a Strategic Environmental Assessment and Habitats Regulations Assessment, which have been published alongside the consultation document.
The public consultation period will end on the 11 March 2015.