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Monday, November 30, 2009

WAG fails to lead again

This morning's Western Mail reveals that a survey of the general public in the run-up to Copenhagen has produced a general expectation that it is up to politicians to lead from the front on climate change.

It is no real surprise therefore to find another news story in the same paper in which the Welsh Government is failing dismally to meet those expectations. Unfortunately, even at this late stage of the day the paper has failed to post this story on their website.

The report tells us that taxpayers are to subsidise a bigger aircraft to fly between North and South Wales, even though passenger numbers are falling. At the same time trains between the two regions have seen a 25% increase in passenger numbers this year.

Environmentalists quite rightly accuse the Welsh Government of hypocrisy for promising to cut carbon emissions whilst subsidising internal flights on what has popularly become known as Ieuan Air, in spite of there being a greener alternative.

Last December, Arriva Trains cut North-South rail journey times and introduced an 'express' service with first class seating, a restaurant car and tables for business travellers. The Welsh Government pay Arriva £1.7m a year for the express, compared to £1.2m a year for the air service and civilian terminal at RAF Valley. Between Bangor and Cardiff, where this train service competes directly with Ieuan Air, there has been a 21% increase in rail passengers this year.

The obvious green solution to this is to withdraw the £1.2m subsidy to the air service and use the money to further improve the rail link, including putting in place the structural changes needed for it to stop at Wrexham.

Alas that seems too green a solution for a Government that is making a point of sending a Minister to Copenhagen to underline its commitment to tackling climate change and which recently supported a Welsh Liberal Democrat motion to cut emissions by 40%. The grass really is greener on the other side.
Does not matter much to me anymore both are too expensive for me to use anyway.

Green travel is now the most expensive way to travel.
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