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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Looking for direction

The editorial in this morning's Western Mail talks a lot of sense about the Government's transport policy announcement that took place in Plenary yesterday. Although Ieuan Wyn Jones made all the right noises on sustainable transport, the details were sparse.

There are matters that need to be welcomed including the use of European funds, the sustainable transport towns initiative, and the investment in railways and coaches, but there were also inconsistencies as well. As Kirsty Williams pointed out the Government remains preoccupied with road building, citing the planned schemes for the M4 and in Flintshire as evidence. The Western Mail takes up the story:

The WAG’s planned widening of the A494 in Flintshire to seven lanes is an illuminating example, because electrifying the parallel railway – which could significantly reduce traffic on the A494 – has just been deferred by the WAG until 2014. Wales has no electric railway, one of the greenest modes of transport, but the WAG is in no hurry to get one.

Meanwhile it is advancing the road scheme. The public inquiry into it drew to a close yesterday.

This is about as far removed from an integrated transport strategy as it’s possible to get. The WAG should have considered these schemes together, potentially reducing or avoiding the road widening work.

Until we get a joined-up approach from the WAG, we are stuck with separate policies for roads, railways and other transport. That way lies more muddle and more growth in carbon emissions from transport.

The overall verdict is that the new Minister has started to turn the government in the right direction but he still needs to do a lot more to convince us of his green credentials.
Is there a rail link planned from North to South?
I understand that there are plans to speed up the existing link.
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