Improvements to South Wales’ transport are vital to future growth

Posted: April 3, 2013 in Business/Cardiff News, Opinion
Tags: , , , ,
Keeping Wales open for business: reports this week of an M4 relief road have caused much debate.

Keeping Wales open for business: reports this week of an M4 relief road have caused much debate.

I am no politician, and the cynics among us may see yesterday’s announcement of the Treasury’s backing of a M4 relief road as another pre-election tactic. However, it has major consequences for the future growth of Wales.

Unless we, the business community, not just the politicians, produce a comprehensive plan to improve our transport infrastructure we can never expect to satisfy existing business transport needs, let alone attract inward investment into our area.

It is wonderful news that Cardiff Airport is now under our ownership, and the recent announcements on a possible Metro system for South East Wales together with the electrification of the main line to Swansea all point in the right direction, but I fear that a joined up transport plan does not yet exist.

We must put more freight and passengers on to our existing rail network and encourage more use of rail for work, business and pleasure. There are numerous disused rail lines and stations which could be reopened to take the pressure off of heavily congested roads.

The predicted 3% increase in congestion on UK roads by 2025 is said to be likely to cost the Welsh economy around £1.1 billion a year in lost business and productivity.

Finally, while I do support the idea of a M4 relief road I do fear that it could take too long. Perhaps the cheaper option of upgrading the A48 as preferred by Professor Stuart Cole of the University of Wales Transport Research Centre is the one we should adopt, in order to give some valuable breathing space and keep Wales open for business.

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