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Document to accompany the Oral Statement by Ken Skates, Minister for the Economy, Transport and North Wales, 19 January 2021 entitled The Welsh Government response to the South East Wales Transport Commission’s final recommendations.

Combining repetitions, the 77 South East Wales Transport Commission (SEWTC) recommendations have been collated into the 58 listed below. 

The Welsh Ministers accept in principle all of the SEWTC recommendations.

Relevant paragraph numbers of the SEWTC Final Report are included to allow for cross referencing.

Ref. No.

SEWTC report para.

SEWTC recommendation

Welsh Government’s response

1

93, 286

Reconfigure SWML to separate local, commuting services from inter-city services. Upgrade relief lines so that all four tracks can operate up to 90mph.

The Welsh Ministers will work with TfW, Network Rail and the UK Government Department for Transport to provide sufficient capacity, reduce journey times and improve rail network resilience to accommodate future passenger and freight demand.

2

101, 103, 208

Endorse Cardiff Council’s and the Welsh Government’s aspiration to extend the Cardiff Crossrail to a potential new station at Newport Road.

The Welsh Ministers are open to considering Cardiff Council's proposals as they come forward.

3

101, 104, 208

Endorse plans for the new Cardiff Parkway station in St Mellons.

We welcome this recommendation as Welsh Government is already supportive of the new station development.
The station is expected to be operated by our transport body, Transport for Wales, and is aiming to secure 12 train services an hour (24 in and out) and accommodate at least 800,000 passengers annually. This project is already well advanced by a joint venture of private developers and the Welsh Government. Subject to consent, construction work could start in 2021 with the Cardiff Parkway station opening to passengers in 2024.

4

101, 105, 208

New Newport West station

The Welsh Ministers will work with TfW, Network Rail and the UK Government Department for Transport to provide new stations for accessing the South Wales Main Line and reduce reliance on the M4 corridor.

5

101, 107, 208

New Newport East station

6

101, 108, 109, 208

Endorse plans for a new station at Llanwern

7

101, 110, 208

Endorse the proposal for a new station at Magor

8

117

Endorse Welsh Government’s proposals for additional London and Bristol Temple Meads services to Cardiff, Swansea and West Wales

The Welsh Ministers will work with TfW, Network Rail and the UK Government Department for Transport to increase service frequencies between south west Wales and London, Cardiff and Bristol Temple Meads; and Swansea and Cardiff.

9

118

Upgrade the Maesteg Line

The Welsh Ministers will work with TfW, Network Rail and the Department for Transport to progress investment in the Maesteg branch line to increase service frequency.

10

118

Complete upgrade of the Ebbw Vale line

The Welsh Ministers will work with TfW, Network Rail and the Department for Transport to progress investment in the Ebbw Vale branch line to increase service frequency and aim to achieve 4tph

11

118

Upgrade Bridgend station

The Welsh Ministers will work with TfW, Network Rail and the UK Government Department for Transport to progress investment in the South Wales Main Line to support improved service frequency.

12

118

Upgrade Newport station

The Welsh Ministers will work with TfW, Network Rail and the UK Government Department for Transport to progress investment in the South Wales Main Line to support improved service frequency.

13

125

Endorse Cardiff Council’s ambitions to establish a series of Core Bus Corridors

We are currently looking at this style of network planning across all of Wales. We will work with Cardiff Council, and other local authorities in the region, as part of this.

14

126

New rapid bus corridor between Cardiff and Newport.

We have tasked our new TfW Development Unit, in partnership with Newport City Council, with taking forward consideration of this.

15

135

Direct, high quality pedestrian access at all stations with priority over cars.

Our new Wales Transport Strategy, and planning policies, are reflecting this approach. We will continue to support local authorities to put it into practice through Transport Grants and TfW will be collaborating with local authorities to develop Active Travel networks around stations.

16

136

Dedicated, signed and safe walking and cycling routes where bus and rail stations are close to one another

Our planning guidance, "Planning Policy Wales 10", sets out how we think our towns and cities should achieve this. We set out how we think this should be done in our Active Travel Design Guidance and we will continue to support local authorities to put it into practice through Transport Grants. TfW will be collaborating with local authorities to develop Active Travel networks around stations. 

17

137, 140, 154

Endorse Cardiff Council’s plans for new segregated cycleways.

The Welsh Ministers will continue to support Cardiff Council's proposals to create segregated cycleways and other appropriate active travel facilities.

18

141, 142

Upgrade the existing National Cycle Network Route 88.

We have tasked our new TfW Development Unit, in partnership with Newport City Council, with taking forward consideration of this.

19

141, 144

New commuter cycle route along the A48.

We have tasked our new TfW Development Unit, in partnership with Newport City Council, with taking forward consideration of this.

20

148

Expand secure storage facilities for cyclists at stations and other points of transport interchange

Our Active Travel Design Guidance sets out examples of good bike storage at stations.  Through TfW we are developing a Station Improvement Programme that includes the enhancement of cycle parking facilities across the rail network.

21

149

New Newport bike hire scheme.

This is a matter for Newport City Council to consider.  Welsh Government, through TfW, are developing ways to make it easier to implement cycle hire schemes such as those successfully done in Cardiff and Swansea.

22

153

Connect Cardiff Parkway Station to Cardiff’s rapid bus routes and cycleways.

We agree there is an opportunity to connect Cardiff Council's Cycleway 2 to the Parkway site. We are confident that the Local Authority will consider this aspect appropriately in the planning approvals process, in accordance with our Active Travel and Planning Policy Wales guidance.

23

155, 207

Redesign the large area outside Newport Central to provide new bus bay facilities.

We have tasked our new TfW Development Unit, in partnership with Newport City Council, with taking forward consideration of this.

24

157

Provide Llanwern village, Ringland and Lliswerry with good walking and cycling access to Llanwern station.

TfW will collaborate with local authorities to improve local connectivity to stations.

Our new TfW Development Unit will monitor progress of this in SE Wales.

25

158, 207

Upgrade road access to Severn Tunnel Junction station to allow bus access.

Lack of bus access to this station is clearly a serious restriction on public transport in Monmouthshire.  We are also aware of the Local Authority's long standing consideration of an M48/B4245 junction to alleviate congestion through the neighbouring towns of Magor and Undy. We have tasked our new TfW Development Unit, in partnership with Monmouthshire County Council, with taking forward consideration of this.

26

165

Reconfigure Old Green Roundabout in the centre of Newport.

We have tasked our new TfW Development Unit, in partnership with Newport City Council, with taking an active role in progressing these measures.

Further commentary on this is provided after this table.

27

127, 168,  170

Improve bus priority at the Cenotaph Junction and Clarence Place Bridge.

28

127, 168, 171

New bus priority infrastructure along Chepstow Road.

29

127, 168,  172

New bus priority infrastructure along Malpas Road

30

127, 168,  173

New bus priority infrastructure along Cardiff Road

31

127, 168, 174

New bus priority infrastructure at the intersection of the A48 and A4810.

32

127, 137, 146, 168,  176

Improve infrastructure to facilitate commuter cycling on bus spoke corridors.

33

183

Draft a regional-level freight strategy focused on the cities on Cardiff and Newport.

The new Wales Transport Strategy includes a commitment to work with the UK government, the sector and other partners on a Logistics and Freight Plan for Wales. Regional needs in the Cardiff and Newport area will form part of that Plan.

34

193

Offer Contactless smartcard payments on all transport services on the network

The Welsh Ministers will work with TfW who are developing a national Account Based Ticketing scheme centred around a capped Pay As You Go solution, using contactless bank card technology with an initial pilot in SE Wales.

35

194

Integrate ticketing arrangements for rail and bus companies into a single ticketing system.

The Welsh Ministers will work with TfW who are tasked to deliver a seamless future ticketing system for Wales that is mode agnostic but retains the commercial incentives for transport providers that simplifies fares and tickets and offers the best possible price for a customer’s journey.

36

195, 253

Align ticket prices for similar length journeys.

The Welsh Ministers will work with TfW who are tasked to review fares and ticketing in South East Wales to deliver an equitable fares and ticketing solution.

37

196, 253

Introduce a unified zonal system, integrated with the South Wales Metro to cover Cardiff, Newport and the surrounding areas.

The Welsh Ministers will work with TfW who are tasked to undertake a comprehensive fares and ticketing review in the SE Wales Metro to provide a zonal platform for integrated fares and tickets.

38

202

Coordinate transport services at Newport West and Severn Tunnel Junction stations.

The Welsh Ministers will work with TfW to develop a model interchange solution with key stakeholders to deliver a co-ordinated transport network at these key hubs.

39

210

Apply a single, overarching brand to all transport services on the network, regardless of their operator.

The Welsh Ministers will work with TfW to build, develop and implement TfW’s brand to ensure it engages customers, encompasses all modes/services and infrastructure. TfW’s brand will be underpinned by a strategic brand hierarchy and appropriate service/sub-brands and products.

40

212

Endorse Transport for Wales’s ‘Station Improvement Vision’ which sets minimum standards for hub, interchange and cross-network stations.

The Welsh Ministers will work with TfW who are tasked to develop minimum standards for Interchanges that provides facilities that are accessible, safe and secure with unified branding, information and wayfinding

41

213

Extend Transport for Wales' minimum standards to bus stations and bus stops on the rapid bus corridors.

The Welsh Ministers will work with TfW who are tasked to develop a hierarchy of Interchanges and set minimum standards for different size and types of interchange, with consistent branding and an emphasis on delivering the best customer experience, with similarly high quality bus stop infrastructure on rapid bus corridors.

42

215

Make live transport information and timetable data available to third party services to facilitate integration with existing applications.

The Welsh Ministers will work with TfW who are tasked to establish a more consistent approach to the provision of multi modal travel information and a platform for real time information that is mode agnostic and deals effectively with network disruption etc.

43

214, 223 224, 227

Support local authorities to deliver workplace travel planning or create a new delivery unit within Transport for Wales (TfW).

We recognise the value travel planning can have in changing behaviours, especially for commuters. We will consider how to best work with local authorities and employers to help people make their travel decisions and consider making it a planning condition for all new developments which will have more than around 10 employees.

44

235

Endorse Welsh Government’s intention to provide remote working sites across the main towns, cities and urban centres in South East Wales.

Even before Covid, Welsh Government has recognised the benefits of remote and flexible working for its staff.  We welcome the Commission's endorsement of our aim to provide flexible working sites with the potential for sharing space with other public sector bodies. Our goal is to reduce the distances people need to travel to work, and therefore increase the travel options available to them; such as active travel. Planning Policy Wales requires local planning authorities to achieve a balance between new homes and employment opportunities to reduce the need to travel. New housing should be accessible to employment opportunities by active travel and provide new on and offsite active travel infrastructure where necessary to connect to the existing network.

45

236, 310

Use the full range of the public estate more flexibly, making a virtue of the property portfolio to provide places to work close to where people live.

46

239, 241

Do not introduce comprehensive RUC across the roads of South East Wales in the absence of a UK-wide scheme.

Following an independent review into Road User Charging in Wales (available here: Independent review of road user charging in Wales) our new Wales Transport Strategy, Llwybr Newydd, sets out that we will support a move from fuel duty to a more equitable approach to road charging that can assist with improving air quality and congestion in urban areas, whilst recognising that some people, including those in rural areas, depend on car use. Road charging is just one form of travel demand management, and we will develop an action plan including other measures such as digital strategies and land-use planning.

47

245

Consider Workplace Parking Levies once alternatives and policy framework in place (local authorities).

This is a matter for local authorities who have the powers to put such measures in place if they wish as part of their strategies for managing congestion in our towns and cities.

48

273, 275

Formalise partnership between Welsh Government, Transport for Wales and local authorities to govern transport design and operation in South East Wales

We welcome this recommendation, and are pleased that it is consistent with the direction of our new Wales Transport Strategy, Llwybr Newydd, which set out our intention to implement and support effective regional transport planning and delivery through Corporate Joint Committees (CJCs), who will be empowered (and supported) to plan for services at a regional level, aligned with other regional and local planning priorities. We agree that the role of TfW in this is important to deliver a valuable and efficient service for both governments and the travelling public.

Our Bus Reform Programme is working with local authorities to look at who is responsible for what activities relating to bus services and, where relevant, who is involved in sharping elements of bus services provision (WG, TfW, LAs, CJCs, operators) and how this might be best shaped in the future to help us achieve our policy and value for money objectives.

49

290

Improve existing bus governance model (Partnership)

The initial Bus Emergency Scheme, introduced during the first national lockdown included free travel for NHS staff, additional funding to support return to school and to address demand hot spots and social inclusion.  Further iterations of BES allowed local authorities and TfW to be more involved in determining which routes it supports and marks a transition towards better meeting Welsh Government’s goals for a new way of working by targeting funds at specific needs.

Longer term, our intention is to transition to an overarching partnership agreement which will govern their behaviours in the delivery of both contracted and commercial services.

50

292

Re-introduce the Bus Services Bill as soon as possible in next Senedd Term

The current legal framework does not facilitate our wider policy agenda including the potential for franchise-type operations and progress is still being made on introducing bus legislation as soon as possible in the next Senedd term.

51

311

Locate employment within towns and city centres and not on the outskirts close to the motorway.

We welcome this recommendation which is consistent with our spatial planning policies including town centre first. We will continue to work with local authorities to ensure that it is put into practice through providing advice and support and where necessary using our powers in relation to local development plan preparation and planning applications.

52

313

Increase development density around the stations and corridors of the network.

We welcome this recommendation which is consistent with our spatial planning policies and will seek to implement sustainable approaches such as walkable neighbourhoods. We will continue to work with local authorities to ensure that it is put into practice.

53

315

Endorse the high-level policy statements within Planning Policy Wales 10 and National Development Framework (Future Wales)

The Commission's endorsement is welcomed.

54

319

Master plan the region through the Strategic Development Plan

We agree that Strategic Development Plans for regions are the way to deliver a joined up approach to land use and planning, with subsequent cross-cutting benefits for residents and commuters.  The Corporate Joint Committees to be established shortly provide the vehicle to make robust connections between land use and transport planning through the establishment of joint technical teams charged with developing a Strategic Development Plan (SDP) and Regional Transport Plan using a common evidence base.

55

323

Provide advice on the sustainable transport implications of the strategic locations identified for development via Transport for Wales.

We agree the sustainable transport implications of developments are a vital part of their planning. We will consider the Commission's recommendation for TfW to take a greater role in this.

56

328

Continue to scrutinise LDPs and call in individual applications which are at risk of being inconsistent with principles of housing and employment land use described in report

We accept the recommendation. We will continue to comment on LDPs and consider call-in of planning applications which do not adequately reflect the transport hierarchy. We will use our powers of intervention where necessary.

57

371

Establish a joint delivery team after recommendations considered

We accept this recommendation. A development unit has been established within TfW and will report to a steering group of Welsh Government plus other parties (such as local authorities and Network Rail) as appropriate.

58

374

Identify ways to fast-track the implementation of rapid bus and cycling corridors, even if only on a pilot basis (local authorities).

We endorse the Commission's recommendation and note that during Covid some local authorities have taken a novel approach to fast-tracking these sort of measures. We will consider how we can support this to continue going forward.

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