Posted: Tue 22nd Jun 2021

Updated: Tue 22nd Jun

Deeside Red Route set to be put on hold as Welsh government conducts a review

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jun 22nd, 2021

All new road building projects in Wales are being put on hold whilst the Welsh Government carries out a review.

Ministers want to study the impact that road traffic has on climate change.

The move will impact the Deeside Red Route scheme, a new 13km two-lane dual carriageway linking the A55 at Northop with the A494 and A550 north of Deeside Parkway Junction via the Flintshire Bridge.

Transport is Wales’s third largest source of the gases driving climate change, emissions from transport will need to be cut by around a half if Wales is to hit its net zero ambitions by 2050.

Earlier this year the Welsh government launched Llwybr Newydd: the Wales Transport Strategy 2021, which is aimed at shaping the transport system in Wales over the next 20 years.

It says, “emissions from surface transport must be roughly halved between 2020 and 2030 from 6 to 3 million tonnes Carbon Dioxide.”

“Whilst electric vehicles may provide the biggest emissions savings, this is unlikely to be the main source of savings until the late 2020s and possibly later. Therefore, we need to look at other measures.”

“Carbon savings from more people working remotely will help, and Wales has set a target of 30% of the workforce to work remotely on a regular basis.”

“Our priority on reducing demand will help achieve this. However, we also need to achieve mode shift with more people using public transport, walking and cycling.’

“Based on our current analysis, we have set a target of 45% of journeys to be made by public transport, walking and cycling by 2040.”

Ministers also want to shift money away from building new roads to maintaining existing routes and investing in public transport in order to incentivise people out of our cars.

Deputy Climate Change Minister Lee Waters is due to announce the review in the Senedd on this afternoon.

He said: “Today, in my role as Deputy Climate Change Minister I’m announcing a pause in all roads schemes not under construction while we review how much headroom we have keep building new roads and meet our Net Zero emissions targets by 2050.”

“I’m asking a panel of experts to look at when new roads are justified – for safety or access reasons for example and how we can redirect funding to roads maintenance and public transport.”

“A Climate Emergency demands that we do things differently.”

Work on the £300m Deeside ‘Red Route’ was expected to begin in 2024 but the impact of the Covid pandemic and the long term changes in travel patterns should be fully assessed, a Senedd Petitions Committee said earlier this year.

The scheme will see a new 13km two-lane dual carriageway linking the A55 at Northop with the A494 and A550 north of Deeside Parkway Junction via the Flintshire Bridge.

The Red Route was chosen ahead of an alternative Blue Route scheme following a 12-week consultation in 2017.

The Blue Route plan would have seen improvements along the A494 Aston Hill and the Ewloe interchange with the A55 without the need for a new road being built.

A petition was raised in early 2019 by local residents in the Northop and Flint areas concerned about the impact on traffic around their communities and the poor consultation of the scheme, it attracted 1,500 signatures.

A committee – made up of cross-party Senedd members –  published a number of recommendations on the back of the petition.

It called for detailed design work on the scheme to be halted until the effects of the Covid-19 “both in terms of its affordability and due to the potential for there to be long-term changes to travel patterns and behaviour.”

Professor Tom Rippeth, chair of STAMP, the group leading the opposition to the Red Route has welcomed the decision by the Welsh government, “in light of the need to substantially reduce Greenhouse gas emissions over the coming few years.”

“This review comes on top of a recent 18 month petitions committee investigation which revealed that whilst the costs of the Red Route continue to spiral the basis for the selection of this road scheme was weak.”

“The basis is further undermined by the likely traffic changes post COVID as more people are encouraged to continue to work from home.”

“The committee also found no evidence the Red Route would improve the holiday traffic situation.” Added Prof Rippeth.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Transport Minister, Natasha Asghar MS said the decision to freeze road building projects in Wales could “prove a significant blow for our recovery.”

She said: “Many roads across Wales are not fit for purpose and have had a damaging impact on our economic fortunes, environment and public safety. Regular traffic jams deter investment and have contributed to Wales having some of the worst air quality in the UK.

“Ministers seem hell-bent on letting our roads deteriorate and forcing everyone onto public transport, despite major doubts over the ability of the network in Wales to cope after years of poor management and under-investment by Labour.

“Welsh workers and businesses urgently require more information about the scope of the review and the Welsh Labour Government’s long-term intentions for our transport infrastructure.”

[Image by DronePics.Wales are licensed under CC BY 4.0]










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