The Welsh Government has published its new draft Transport Strategy, which pledges a major reduction in carbon emissions from the country’s transport network.
The draft strategy, Llwybr Newydd – New Path, aims to shape Wales’ transport system over the next two decades and includes a new sustainable transport hierarchy that aims to help shape investments towards ‘greener’ transport options.
Although transport currently makes up 17% of Wales’ carbon emissions, the Welsh Government has committed to set ‘new and stretching’ five-year priorities to tackle emissions in a bid to decarbonisation targets.
The strategy sets out a vision of 'an accessible, sustainable transport system'
Officials said the strategy recognises that patterns of less commuting and more home working that have arisen as a result of the pandemic are likely to continue.
Ken Skates, minister for economy, transport and North Wales, described the strategy as a ‘once in a generation opportunity’.
He said: ‘In 2020 we stand at an important moment in its development. Our climate is in crisis, new technology is disrupting the way we think about travel itself and Coronavirus is severely testing the financial and economic foundations of public transport models.
‘Llwybr Newydd sets out a commitment to a major reduction in transport emissions so we are all playing our part in the address the crisis we face. It shows how promoting social justice and tackling the climate emergency will be at the heart of our work, particularly in the context of a pandemic which is fundamentally changing the way we live, work and play.’
The strategy set out four ‘long-term ambitions’ for the transport system in Wales – that it is good for people and communities; good for the environment; good for the economy and places in Wales; and good for culture and the Welsh language.
These are to be delivered through a set of five-year priorities.
Priority 1: reduce greenhouse gas emissions by planning ahead for better physical and digital connectivity, more local services, more home and remote working and more active travel, so that fewer people need to use their cars on a daily basis.
But where people and businesses do need to travel
Priority 2: grow public transport use in Wales by providing services that everyone can use, wants to use, and does use, based on:
Priority 3: safe, accessible, well-maintained and managed transport infrastructure that is also future-proofed to support public transport and electrification especially walking and cycling. It is not enough to just support sustainable transport services and infrastructure. We also need to drive modal shift and behaviour change by:
Priority 4: making sustainable transport choices more attractive and affordable to more people and businesses, whilst respecting the fact that many people including those in rural areas or disabled people, may not have options, and
Priority 5: supporting innovations that help more people and businesses adopt more sustainable transport choices.
The strategy also contains nine ‘mini-plans’ for modes and sectors: active travel; rail; bus; roads (including streets and parking); the third sector; taxis and private hire vehicles; freight and logistics; and ports, maritime transport and aviation.
A consultation on the strategy runs until 25 January 2021.