Economy and Infrastructure Secretary Ken Skates has today set out his vision for transport improvements in North Wales.
The Infrastructure Secretary has launched ‘Moving North Wales Forward - Our Vision for North Wales and the North East Wales Metro’ - which outlines how ambitious proposals will help connect people, communities and businesses to jobs, facilities and services across the region, with the North East Wales Metro integral to these plans.
Economy Secretary Ken Skates said:
“Modernising the transport network across North Wales and delivery of an integrated North East Wales Metro are key priorities for the Welsh Government. They will provide a fantastic platform to deliver sustainable economic development, connecting people, communities and business to employment, services, facilities and markets through reliable, resilient infrastructure.
“Brexit will mean it is more important than ever to have good connections to markets across the Wales – England border, which already sees around one million journeys per month. Direct links to and from key centres in the Northern Powerhouse, the Midlands and to London and direct public transport services to airports and key rail hubs will all help to drive economic growth.
“I have already committed to projects of nearly £600 million for transport infrastructure improvements across the region whilst working hard to secure an additional £41 million of EU funding for transport schemes in the region. But it’s crucial that our investment and ambition does not stop there.
“I am proud to launch our vision for a fully integrated North East Wales Metro system which will transform transport links in North East Wales. This will be supported by our ongoing work on the future of local bus services, and by the new Wales and borders rail franchise which will be in place from 2018.
“I am also pleased to announce plans for a designated team to work in collaboration with other public sector organisations, operators, business, the third sector and communities on both sides of the border to develop the vision and improve transport integration across all modes. This will help inform and deliver a transport system that meets the needs of North Wales, ensuring our vision for a connected North East Wales becomes a reality.
“There is huge potential to deliver increased economic growth in North Wales. A modern, high quality integrated transport system is fundamental to achieving that potential and I am committed to working to make that a reality.”
Councillor Dilwyn Roberts, Chair of the North Wales Economic Ambition Board said:
“The announcement is a firm commitment by the government to support economic growth and prosperity in North Wales, putting it on an equal footing with the city regions in South Wales.
“I particularly welcome the ‘whole system’ approach outlined in the Vision that recognises the strong link between the health of the economy and an effective and modern transport system. The plan is enhanced by the recognition of the cross border commuter flows in the Mersey Dee area.
“I look forward to working with the Cabinet Secretary to implement the vision for the benefit of all parts of North Wales.”
Cllr Samantha Dixon, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council and Chair of Growth Track 360, the campaign to secure £1bn of rail improvements for North Wales and Cheshire, welcomed the announcement and said:
“The vision for a Metro for North East Wales will complement the integrated service and infrastructure improvements we are seeking as part of the Growth Track campaign.
“Such investment is essential if we are to create opportunities for generations to come. This investment would increase productivity and economic growth, increasing tax revenues and reducing unemployment across the region.”