Wales pauses public road projects in pursuit of net zero target

Wales pauses public road projects in pursuit of net zero target

By Pamela Jolly  March 2nd, 2023

The Welsh Government has stopped all planned road projects in favour of more sustainable modes of transport, prioritising safety and environmental impact over car dependency.  


All public road projects in Wales were suspended in September 2022 to enable a panel of experts to review planned works to ensure they fit with broader environmental policy and efforts to reduce carbon emissions.   

Wales has long recognised the issues associated with climate change. This was evidenced by their parliament passing the Well-being of Future Generations Act 2015 requiring public entities to consider the long-term impact of decisions on the community, including health inequalities, poverty and climate change.   

Working towards a goal of net zero by 2050, Wales has set several targets including a reduction of emissions from passenger transport by 22% by 2025 as well as car miles travelled per person by 10% by 2030. They are also hoping to increase the proportion of trips made by public transport and active travel (like walking and cycling) to 35% by 2025.  

The panel used a consultative method with stakeholders from council, engineering, cycling, wildlife and youth organisations to review whether public schemes were consistent with government strategy and net zero policy. 

Of the schemes assessed, the panel recommended that 17 were consistent with government policy and 31 were not. Some schemes like the Cynon Gateway North were not deemed appropriate to continue based on the substantial increase in carbon emissions likely from construction, its adverse impact on sites protected for their environmental value and the road’s enabling of car-dependency within the local area. 

Michael Kilgariff (Roads Australia) pointed to similar problems in Australia in ‘The journey to net zero 2021’ report. He said we face an over-reliance on privately owned, fossil-fuel powered vehicles for the movement of people and goods around our cities.   

To reverse this dependency, Australia could learn from planning approaches like the one in Wales that prioritises lower emissions policy in making future transport investment decisions. Encouraging more citizens to use more sustainable active modes of transport and designing our cities around their use will be better for the environment and also contribute to higher levels of well-being for everyone.   

Planet Ark does not take responsibility for the accuracy of the original information and encourages readers to check the references before using this information for their own purposes.


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Pamela Jolly

Pamela is a Marketing Communications professional with over 10 years experience working for both agencies and organisations in communications, travel, finance and retail industries. Pamela loves to be in nature riding a bike, skiing, appreciating the trees at her local park or exploring wild places abroad with her family.

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