Wales cancels all major road building projects

The cancellations in Wales are primarily for environmental reasons, but there is opposition from those with economic priorities.

A motorcycle in a welsh valley

All major road building projects in Wales have been cancelled, it has been announced, owing to fears over emissions and increased traffic.

The announcement of the cancellation of all major Welsh road building projects was made by the Welsh Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters, and followed a review, which began in 2021, of a number of projects. 

55 projects, in total, were reviewed, including the third Menai bridge, A4042 in Wrexham, and the Red Route in Flintshire. All reviewed projects are now either paused or awaiting reassessment. Only 15 of the 55 projects will resume in the future.

The Welsh Government has decided, according to the RAC, that the projects would increase the number of vehicles on the road and therefore emissions would increase, as well. 

The motivations are clearly environmental, and are a part of Wales’ net zero goals for 2050. 

There are concerns, however, that in cutting road building projects Wales is limiting its capacity for economic growth. This is a point put forward by Welsh Conservatives leader Andrew Davies in response to a speech by Waters in the Welsh parliament.

The RAC also reports that there is opposition from within the Welsh construction industry, because the cancellation of these projects will cost people their jobs.

RAC head of roads policy, Nicholas Lyes, said: “These proposals risk grinding Wales and its economy to a halt. Unless Ministers can guarantee alternatives to car travel, they risk causing more congestion on existing routes and making it exceptionally difficult for people in rural areas to get around easily.

“The Welsh Government should instead be looking at how it could help accelerate the take-up of electric vehicles to speed up decarbonisation.”

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