Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change
On 22 June I announced a review of all new road schemes funded by Welsh Government to be undertaken by a panel of leading experts on transport and climate change. The Panel, Chaired by Dr Lynn Sloman MBE, will set tests for when new roads are the right solutions for transport problems, in line with Llwybr Newydd, the Wales Transport Strategy.
The climate emergency makes it imperative that we avoid investment that increases carbon emissions, especially in the next 15 years when most cars on the road will still be petrol and diesel vehicles.
The Llanbedr Access Road scheme has been taken forward by Gwynedd Council with funding from Welsh Government. As the scheme is at an advanced stage of preparation the panel chair was asked to ‘fast-track’ its review of the Llanbedr scheme.
I have received and reviewed the chair’s report.
The review focussed on two questions:
- Has sufficient consideration been given to non-transport solutions and solutions other than those increasing private car capacity on the road network?
- Has sufficient consideration been given to whether the road proposal will lead to increased CO2 emissions on the road network, or cause significant impediment to achievement of our decarbonisation targets?
This review of the Llanbedr scheme also took into account Wales’ Well-being Goals; the new Wales Transport Strategy Llwybr Newydd; Future Wales; Planning Policy Wales; the forthcoming Net Zero Wales low carbon delivery plan; and the current review of the WelTAG transport appraisal process.
The Panel Chair visited Llanbedr to see the location of the road scheme, and met Gwynedd Council, Aerospace Wales, and Welsh Government officials with responsibility for regional development, industrial transformation and transport infrastructure in North Wales. A written representation was received from Cymdeithas Eryri / the Snowdonia Society.
The chair’s report concludes that the proposed scheme does not align well with new Welsh Government transport and climate policy, and advises that it is not taken forward: Roads Review Panel: Llanbedr access road and bypass.
I have accepted the chair’s recommendations and Welsh Government will not support any further work on the current Llanbedr Access Road scheme.
However, I am committed to providing funding for the development and implementation of an alternative package of measures to address the negative impact of traffic in Llanbedr and in other villages on the A496, whilst also encouraging modal shift and reducing CO2 emissions. The package can also consider access requirements to the airfield to support associated developments. I have asked my officials to work with Gwynedd Council to commission Transport for Wales to develop an alternative package for consideration, in line with the chair’s recommendations. Any Welsh Government funding for this package will be via the Local Transport Fund and subject to the usual application process.