I WAS perturbed when last month the Welsh Labour Government announced a freeze to all road building schemes in Wales. This meant that the Welsh Government were binning plans for a Dinas Powys bypass, which would have greatly reduced congestion and pollution in Dinas Powys.
The supposed motivation for the freeze was Welsh Government’s drive to reduce carbon emissions. While it is right that we work to reduce carbon emissions in Wales and protect the environment, I do not see the environmental case for cancelling the bypass.
Surely it is better to have cars moving swiftly between Barry and Cardiff rather than the current scenario where congestion is leading to stationary cars releasing emissions in residential areas? This decision from Welsh Government cannot be the best decision for air quality in our towns.
Unfortunately, it seems that this decision has been driven by Welsh Government’s dogmatic hatred for private car use rather than by any reasonable assessment of what is best for the environment and people’s health. It is certainly not a decision that has been made with the current state of the economy in mind.
We then discovered less than 24 hours after the Welsh Government’s announcement of a freeze on road building that the proposed Llandeilo bypass in Carmarthenshire would still go ahead. This immediate U-turn was made because Welsh Labour had agreed the bypass with Plaid Cymru in a budget agreement in a previous Senedd. I am disappointed that Plaid Cymru haven’t been more vocal in arguing that the Dinas Powys bypass should go ahead as well.
The Llandeilo bypass has been proposed for decades, and people in the area rightly feel that the traffic through the centre of the town produces an unacceptable amount of air pollution for the residents. All of the arguments for the Llandeilo bypass ring true in the case of the Dinas Powys bypass. Unfortunately, the Welsh Government have put political priorities above the priorities of the residents of Dinas Powys and the wider Vale.
Indeed, an independent consultant concluded that the Dinas Powys bypass would have brought many benefits to the transport infrastructure of the area. This deeply short sighted move from Welsh Government is keeping the Vale at a standstill. This announcement marks a significant blow to economic recovery in the Vale and to air quality in Dinas Powys.
I would be happy to engage with Welsh Government and work together to reduce our impact on the environment, but policies for doing so have to be measured and reasonable. While our environment is fragile, so too is our economy at the present time and there are nuances to the ways in which we should approach both issues. I believe that cancelling the Dinas Powys bypass is a terrible decision for the economy and for the environment, at a time when both need our attention.