This event highlighted what Wales is doing to end the policy bias towards road building and the opportunities for following a similar path elsewhere. The panel explored what needs to happen in England to enable a more holistic and sustainable approach to infrastructure and service provision.
The UK was the first major economy in the world to commit to a legally binding target to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. However, transport is a devolved matter and the approach to delivering net zero in transport has varied across parts of the UK.
It has long been recognised that road infrastructure investment increases traffic, exacerbating congestion and air pollution, resulting in higher levels of operational and embedded carbon. The UK government is putting in place an ambitious policy package to support vehicle electrification but this should go hand in hand with measures to avoid significant increases in traffic levels. While government is reviewing the planning policy framework for major road investment, it has not paused its existing road building plans.
By contrast, the Welsh government has explicitly recognised the need to reduce car miles driven and has started a process to review all major existing road building plans to ensure overall investment aligns with its commitment to net zero.
At this event organised jointly by Green Alliance, Campaign for Better Transport and Transport Action Network, we heard from Wales’ Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters, about the process behind its Roads Review and wider policy measures to move away from car reliance towards sustainable transport options, the obstacles he faced and how he dealt with them. The panel then compared this with the experience in England and discussed what lessons might be learnt for achieving change elsewhere.
This event was an expert discussion will be followed by a Q&A.
- Chair: Silviya Barrett, director of policy and research, Campaign for Better Transport
- Lee Waters, deputy minister for climate change, Welsh Government
- David Milner, deputy director, Create Streets
- Rebecca Lush, roads and climate campaigner, Transport Action Network
- Cllr Charlie Hicks, Oxfordshire County Council, deputy chair of Place Overview and Scrutiny Committee