Llanbedr Access Road Plans, Gwynedd Council, P Consultation Site
CGI rendering of the Llanbedr Access Road, which had been approved in 2020 after 60 years of lobbying on its behalf. Credit: via consultation website

Wales cancels £14m Gwynedd road scheme that failed climate review

Julia Hatmaker

The Llanbedr Access Road project had been approved by Gwynedd Council in 2020 and was meant to increase access to Llanbedr Airfield while reducing traffic in the village of Llanbedr.

The development was one of several major road projects paused in June after the Welsh Government said it wanted to re-evaluate the schemes over growing concerns over climate change. Other major projects awaiting reviews include the £300m Deeside “Red Route”, £135m third Menai Strait crossing and the £50m Llandeilo bypass.

The review for Llanbedr Access Road focused on two questions. The first centred on whether non-transport solutions and solutions that would not increase the number of cars on the road had been considered.  The second question was focused on whether the new road work would lead to increased carbon emissions and hurt Wales’s decarbonisation targets.

Ultimately, the Welsh roads review panel said that there had not been enough time spent looking for non-transport solutions and that earlier assessments of the impact of the project on carbon emissions were “superficial and lacking in credibility”.

The panel went on to say: “it seems more likely than not that the scheme will increase CO2 emissions due to induced traffic, higher speeds and embodied carbon, making it more difficult for Wales to achieve decarbonisation targets.

“For Welsh Government, the Llanbedr scheme highlights the need for better alignment of policies on industrial transformation and regional economies with policies on transport and climate.”

Lee Waters, deputy minister for climate change, agreed with the panel’s assessment and said the government would not be supporting any further work on the scheme.

Waters went on to say that the government would be willing to continue to help address the traffic issues, though.

“I am committed to providing funding for the development and implementation of an alternative package of measures to address the negative impact of traffic in Llanbedr and in other villages on the A496, whilst also encouraging modal shift and reducing CO2 emissions,” Waters said.

“The package can also consider access requirements to the airfield to support associated developments. I have asked my officials to work with Gwynedd Council to commission Transport for Wales to develop an alternative package for consideration, in line with the chair’s recommendations.”

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