Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport
On 19 January we published our line by line response to the Burns recommendations with a broad agreement of their importance for this region. This statement provides a next update.
We are appointing Simon Gibson CBE as the Chair of the Delivery Board. Dr Lynn Sloman MBE, a former SEWTC Commissioner, will be his Vice Chair. Together they will oversee the progression of the 58 Burns recommendations by the Unit set up in Transport for Wales, for which a budget of over £4m has been approved for the coming financial year. Simon will Chair his first meeting of the Board this week (Friday March 26).
Alongside long-term planning for implementing the measures this government committed to identify priority measures that could be progressed at pace. We all want to see tangible steps taken to make a real difference on the ground, with better travel options for everyone.
Working with the relevant local authorities, and supported by Transport for Wales, we have agreed to fast-track development work of;
- transport corridors between Cardiff and Newport
- the interchange at Newport Central, plus reconfiguration of the adjacent Old Green roundabout.
- Improved access to the strategically important Severn Tunnel Junction rail station in Monmouthshire.
Our Transport for Wales Burns Development Unit are tasked with developing options for the above for the consideration of Local Authorities and Welsh Government. Options must of course achieve both strategic and local objectives, and a new way of working will be used to ensure the layers of government collaborate to find the right solutions.
This development work will take place over the next year. Subject to approvals from all parties, the measures could then move forward to consultation on a preferred solution before decisions on whether to proceed to detailed design, statutory processes and construction.
South Wales Main Line upgrades are core to the Burns recommendations. We are in the final stages of Network Rail agreeing to second a resource to Transport for Wales to directly integrate their thinking with our plans for the region.