Page last updated at 10:09 GMT, Monday, 29 March 2010 11:09 UK

Wales' first five-year transport plan revealed

Congestion on the M4
Campaigners say half of the transport budget is spent on road schemes

Wales' first five-year national transport plan has been published.

Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said it "supports renewal of our economy, a more inclusive society and helps us tackle climate change".

Mr Jones, who is also the economy and transport minister, said a "key focus" was how to improve integration.

An early draft had caused fury among business leaders after the decision was taken to scrap the proposed M4 relief road around Newport.

A "sustainable travel centre" has previously been unveiled for Cardiff, and Mr Jones announced that the next will be towns in Anglesey and Gwynedd, around the Menai Strait.

Mr Jones said: "The next initiative to be taken forward is the Môn a Menai Sustainable Travel Area, which includes public transport infrastructure projects within the city of Bangor and the Menai area, proposed walking and cycling infrastructure projects together with smarter travel projects such as travel plans for main employers, bus service improvements and the Beic Môn a Menai project."

Improved bus services

On the national transport plan as a whole, Mr Jones said he had been pleased there had been more than 370 responses from individuals and organisations.

That, he said, "reflects the significance of our plans to improve transport across Wales".

The plan aims to improve road, rail and greener transport in Wales.

In the draft strategy published last July, Mr Jones rejected plans for an M4 relief road at Newport and a new access road to Cardiff airport.

He said there would be an emphasis on healthy, sustainable transport, such as walking and cycling and improved local bus services.

There were also improved rail services, including improved rolling stock, an Ebbw Vale to Newport link and north-south link through Wrexham.

Traffic calming and speed restraint in residential areas to encourage walking and cycling
Reallocation of road space towards sustainable modes of transport
Extensive network of shared paths for walking and cycling, including paths segregated from traffic
Congestion charging allied with extra investment in public transport
Extension of safe routes to schools
Transport hubs in key rural centres
Measures to promote integrated transport, eg, multi-modal ticketing, bus/rail interchanges, Smart Cards and secure cycle parking
Source: Sustainable Transport Cymru

Despite this an alliance of 24 organisations led by sustainable transport charity Sustrans and also including public transport operators, passenger groups and health professionals, said there was still too much emphasis on the road network.

'Further and faster'

Before the plan was revealed, Sustainable Transport Cymru published a list of measures which it said would cut car use and reduce carbon emissions.

Chairman Lee Waters said: "From next May the main political parties are committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions in Wales by 3% every year.

"That can only be achieved if we rethink our approach to transport.

"The assembly's new national transport plan does not do enough to encourage people to use their car less.

"If we are serious about tackling climate change and creating a healthier Wales, we urgently need a bold shift in transport policy."

Mr Waters said around half the assembly government's transport budget was spent on road schemes.

"From past experience we know this will result in more people driving further and faster," he added.

In a separate announcement, Mr Jones said up to £8m assembly government funding would be spent in the next three years helping to change the way people travel in parts of Anglesey and Gwynedd.

It will include improvements to bus services in Bangor and the Menai area and new walking and cycling schemes including completion of the Lôn Adda multi-user path.

"Smarter" travel projects will include travel plans for the major employers in the area and there will be a look at the feasibility of reopening the former rail line between Llangefni and Bangor.

"This latest announcement fits into the work of the national transport plan," he said.

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