The Welsh Government has today (17 Nov) published its new initial Transport Strategy, which pledges a major reduction in carbon emissions from the transport network in Wales.
Transport currently makes up 17% of Wales’ carbon emissions but the Welsh Government has committed to set new and stretching five-year priorities to tackle carbon emissions as it seeks to meet decarbonisation targets.
The draft strategy, ‘New Path’, will shape Wales’ transport system over the next two decades. It illustrates a range of new ambitions to reshape transport in Wales, including a new sustainable transport hierarchy that will shape investments towards greener transport options.
Their plans for rail are illustrated out within the report, with goals for the next 20 and five years.
Their vision is to: “…achieve the passenger and freight rail services that people and businesses in Wales need, in order to better support our wider ambitions for the economy, communities and the environment. This should allow more of us to travel where we want to, when we want to, and to do so more sustainably.”
By 2040 they aim to have contributed to a more equal and healthier Wales by for example making rail travel more accessible, addressing affordability and providing more inclusivity training for staff.
They are also aiming to significantly reduce the environmental impact of travel by replacing diesel trains with new technology that emits fewer greenhouse gases, having more people take the train rather than using their cars, more goods to be moved onto rail, avoiding environmentally sensitive lorry miles, protecting and enhancing biodiversity and ecosystem resilience in the day-to-day management of the rail soft estate in future rail improvements.
Their goals for the next five years are also included. Such as aiming to work with Network Rail and the UK government to decarbonise the rail network in Wales, provide more services, more trains and more stations, enhance the public transport Metro systems, maintain and manage existing infrastructure under the control of Welsh Government,
More elements were also encompassed such as developing the resilience of rail infrastructure to flooding and extreme weather and continue to work with the UK Government to improve rail infrastructure across Wales including rolling out rail electrification schemes across Wales, delivering network improvements and extensions in Wales including reopening old lines and new lines of route.
The report states that: “The National Transport Delivery Plan (NTDP) will set out plans for rail infrastructure investment and services on the Wales and Border services, and across Wales as a whole. Transport for Wales will continue to provide and develop rail services within Wales and Borders and across long distance services in the context of an integrated public transport network. We will work collaboratively with our regional neighbours as so many of our rail journeys are cross-border and we will continue to work with the UK government on delivering services in Wales.”
Ken Skates, Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, said: “Our public transport system is one of the most important national assets we have. It connects people to one another, binds communities together and enables businesses to grow and expand. It’s one of the most powerful tools for social justice and inclusive growth that we possess.
“But 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.
“Our new strategy - 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 shift towards a greener transport system is already underway, with record levels of investment in active travel and public transport. Llwybr Newydd is a once in a generation opportunity to reinforce and accelerate that work so that we can make our transport system in Wales genuinely fit for future for generations to come.”
To read the report, click here.
Image: Transport for Wales