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Academic lends expertise to Wales Roads Review

21 February 2023

A road in Wales in the countryside

Professor Andrew Potter from Cardiff Business School has been part of a panel for the Wales Roads Review, a ground-breaking policy that reassessed road-building schemes against a series of tough tests on their impact on the climate emergency.

After 17 months of analysis, meetings and site visits, the panel, formed of eight members, returned its findings. The report was published on Tuesday 14 February when the Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters, gave a speech in the Senedd.

The report says that the focus of road-building should be on minimising carbon emissions, not increasing road capacity, increasing emissions or adversely affecting ecologically valuable sites.

The Welsh Government said it has 'carefully considered' the panel's advice and this will inform its National Transport Delivery Plan (NDTP).

The central argument presented by the panel is that there is a need to think differently about dealing with congestion. It says that traffic on our roads has increased and the response is normally to build more roads. This has encouraged more journeys by car and made traffic worse, contributing to increased air pollution.

This is an internationally recognised trend called ‘induced demand’. The panel report says that schemes that create extra road capacity for cars should not be supported. Instead, they recommend greater attention should be given to schemes focusing on demand management, along with improvements in public transport and active travel. They say: “this will help to reduce non-essential traffic and make capacity available for essential road users including freight operators."

Professor Andrew Potter said:

“It's been a pleasure to be involved in the Roads Review, and great to see how the Welsh Government have embraced it in shaping their roads policy going forwards. The new policy will transform how the transport network in Wales is developed going forward. My particular focus has been on the freight and logistics implications of the report, an aspect that is often overlooked in transport policy despite being major users of the road network.”

Professor Andrew Potter Professor in Logistics and Transport

As part of the announcement, the Welsh Government confirmed it will be publishing a Freight Plan later in the year.

Find out more about Wales Roads Review.

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