Plaid Cymru MS for South Wales West, Sioned Williams, has urged the Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters, to “significantly improve” current plans to construct the Swansea Bay and West Wales Metro as they “more or less completely ignore” the Swansea and Afan Valleys.
Sioned Williams raised the issue this week at the Senedd, following the Welsh Government’s publishment of preliminary maps outlining the proposed new routes. In response, the Minister admitted that “there's much more that we need to do in the south west.”
Sioned Williams said:
“A fortnight ago, in declaring that a climate emergency meant that we need to change the way we travel, the Welsh Government published an update for the Swansea bay and west Wales metro, noting that 17 per cent of carbon emissions in Wales come from transport, and that we therefore need people to shift to more sustainable modes of transport.
“As part of the report published there are maps of the proposed plans, and there are large gaps in those maps in terms of transport development to serve the Swansea and Afan Valleys, particularly – these communities are more or less completely ignored in the current proposals.”
Sioned Williams added:
“Plaid Cymru has argued for some time for a west Wales metro, and we believe that a metro programme should have to include rail or light rail to link western valleys communities. These gaps in the plans are therefore disappointing given the economic, green and social benefits those links would bring.
“I asked the Welsh Government to explain why there is no intention, even in the longer term, to develop and strengthen transportation links in the Swansea and Afan Valleys to help residents get easy access to transport.
“The Deputy Minister admitted that he agreed with my analysis that the Swansea and Afan Valleys are at risk of being left behind in these plans. I therefore see no reason why the Government can’t significantly improve these proposals and would urge the Welsh Government not to neglect Valleys communities. No community in the south west should be left behind by these plans.”