Connect with us
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

Welsh Government plans to introduce road-charging

Published

on

MARK DRAKEFORD’s claim that the Welsh Government had no plans to introduce road charging has been shot down in flames by … the Welsh Government.

New legislation introduced by the Welsh Government makes a mockery of reassurances about road charging the First Minister gave in October.

Following the controversy over his administration’s introduction of a default 20mph speed limit across Wales, Mr Drakeford answered questions in the Senedd on October 3.
One of the Conservative frontbench team, Janet Finch-Saunders, asked Mark Drakeford if his government planned to introduce road charging.

The First Minister answered: “The UK Secretary of State holds powers to implement universal road charging and to retain revenues for Transport.

“Welsh Ministers can provide powers to local authorities to implement local schemes. There are no plans to introduce charges for motorists on Welsh Government-managed trunk roads.”

Smelling a rat, Mrs Finch-Saunders pressed the First Minister further.

Mr Drakeford doubled down.

“Let me repeat the answer so that the Member can ensure she is telling people who contact her the truthful position.

“There are no plans—here’s the answer; this is what you need to tell people should they ask you. There are no plans – no plans – to introduce charges for motorists on Welsh Government-managed trunk roads. That should put the rumours to bed.”

This week, the Welsh Government published a bill to address air quality and noise pollution in Wales.
Sections 19-21 of the Bill and one of its schedules refer directly to the introduction of road charging and set out the mechanisms by which it could be imposed.

Among the options available to explain Mark Drakeford’s responses in the Senedd, apart from the obvious one, are that he forgot or didn’t know what was in the legislation (unlikely since Janet Finch-Saunders referred directly to it) or that the Welsh Government seeks powers it has no intention of using (in which case, they should not be in the Bill).

Both are unlikely.

When he appeared before the Senedd’s Climate Change Committee to discuss the Bill, Deputy Climate Change Minister Lee Waters said he was “very attracted by the principle” of using money raised through road charging to improve active travel infrastructure.

However, he said separating the revenue raised from other income would be “problematic for a whole host of other knock-on consequences”.

Of course, Mr Drakeford could simply refer to the absence of current plans. Future plans are another thing altogether.
It’s better to be disingenuous than an outright liar.
To establish the truth, The Herald asked the Welsh Government
how the Bill’s content was compatible with the First Minister’s clear ruling out road charging to the Senedd on October 3.

A Welsh Government spokesperson told us: “The Transport Act 2000 provides Welsh Ministers with powers to introduce trunk road charging schemes on Welsh roads under limited circumstances.

“The provisions at sections 21 and 22, and Schedule 2, of the Bill (as amended at Stage 2), create additional circumstances which would enable Welsh Ministers to introduce schemes to reduce or limit air pollution in the vicinity of a trunk road.

“These powers, if carried by the Senedd, will provide a tool of last resort to tackle persistent air pollution hot spots should this be necessary in the future.”

In the present, Mr Drakeford’s attempt at intellectually dishonest wordplay stands revealed for what it is.

Community

Police launch urgent search for missing 16-year-old in west Wales

Published

on

POLICE are actively searching for a missing 16-year-old boy, known only as Kobi, who has not been seen since last week. The teenager has connections across various towns in west Wales, including Llandeilo, Carmarthen, and Cardigan.

Kobi, described as tall with shaved black hair featuring a purple tint, was last spotted in Llanelli. Authorities have urged the public to remain vigilant and report any sightings of the boy immediately.

A spokesperson for Dyfed-Powys Police issued a public appeal, stating: “Can you help find Kobi, who has been reported missing? Kobi is 16 years old, and described as tall with shaved black hair which has a purple tint.”

Anyone with information on Kobi’s whereabouts is encouraged to contact Dyfed-Powys Police without delay, as concerns for his welfare continue to grow.

Continue Reading

Community

Feedback wanted on regional transport vision

Published

on

VIEWS are wanted on the future of transport in South West Wales.

Covering Carmarthenshire, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire and Swansea, a case for change that’s been developed for a regional transport plan is now open for public feedback until Monday August 26.

The case for change shows how the plan is essential to support the ongoing economic development of the region, while recognising its diverse communities and varying transport needs.

Aims of the plan include improving walking and cycling routes to local services, as well as achieving a shift away from private car usage to more sustainable forms of transport. Affordability will be at the centre of the plan to ensure access to transport is available to all.

Comments on the case for change will help inform a draft regional transport plan that will also be consulted on when it’s ready for feedback.  

Swansea Bay and West Wales Metro plans for an integrated bus and rail network will continue to be developed alongside the regional transport plan’s delivery in future. 

The rail metro elements are projected to add over a million journeys to the rail network, helping move more people out of cars and onto public transport than any other scheme in Wales.
Cllr Rob Stewart, Swansea Council Leader and Chairman of the Corporate Joint Committee (CJC) for South West Wales, said: “Adding to an outstanding tourism offer, South West Wales is undergoing a time of unprecedented investment, thanks to developments like the Celtic Freeport and £1.3bn Swansea Bay City Deal.
“These schemes – in combination with many others – will help create thousands of jobs for local people and attract even more investment to South West Wales in future, but we’ve also identified that our current transport network needs significant improvement to keep pace with these developments, while also better meeting the needs of local people in all the region’s communities – both urban and rural.
“The case for change – which also highlights the importance of affordability, climate change considerations and low-carbon transport – is intended as a guide to help inform the emerging regional transport plan.”
Cllr Darren Price, Carmarthenshire Council’s Leader and Chairman of the CJC’s transport sub-group, said: “The transport network is at the heart or our region. It takes us to work, education, healthcare and leisure and social activities both throughout South West Wales and further afield.
“It affects everyone, which is why we’re opening up our case for change for the regional transport plan for public feedback.
“With the population of the region also expected to increase in the coming decades, we need a transport system that accommodates existing and future developments in a way that supports sustainable travel choices, economic activity and social inclusion across the region.”
Head to www.cjcsouthwest.wales/consultation for more information and the opportunity to give feedback.
Email [email protected] if you have any queries.
Paper copies of the feedback form and consultation materials are available at:
Carmarthenshire: Ammanford Customer Services Hwb on Quay Street, Carmarthen Customer Services Hwb on St Catherine’s Walk or Llanelli Customer Services Hwb on Stepney Street.
Neath Port Talbot: Neath Civic Centre, Port Talbot Civic Centre or The Quays on Brunel Way in Baglan Energy Park.
Pembrokeshire: County Hall in Haverfordwest.
Swansea: The Civic Centre on Oystermouth Road.

Continue Reading

Community

Freshwater West named The Times newspaper Beach of the Year

Published

on

FRESHWATER WEST has been named Wales’s Beach of the Year, according to the annual best beaches guide by The Times and Sunday Times. The comprehensive guide, now in its 16th edition, lists the top 50 beaches in the UK and will be available in print on 21st July.

Chris Haslam, the award-winning chief travel writer for The Times and Sunday Times, described Freshwater West as “a wilderness of dunes, sand and rocks that draws surfers from across the world to ride its winter waves.” Haslam has personally inspected all 50 beaches on the list over the past eight weeks.

The guide evaluates the stunning beauty of the UK coastline using a meticulous 11-point checklist. This includes water quality, cleanliness, accessibility, parking facilities, lifeguard presence, hygiene standards at restrooms and showers, and dog-friendliness. For 2024, only beaches rated as “excellent” for water quality by national environment agencies have been included, and the guide exclusively covers mainland beaches.

Here are the best beaches in Wales according to the guide:

  • Wales’s Beach of the Year: Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire
  • Llanddwyn, Anglesey
  • Porth Iago, Gwynedd
  • Penbryn, Ceredigion
  • Mwnt, Ceredigion
  • Manorbier, Pembrokeshire
  • Pendine Sands, Pembrokeshire
  • Mewslade, Vale of Glamorgan
  • Oxwich, Vale of Glamorgan
  • Monknash, Vale of Glamorgan

Chris Haslam reflected on his travels, saying, “My Jack Russell, Dave T Dog, and I have journeyed 5,583 miles and explored 543 beaches. The 50 beaches that made our list are graced with outstanding natural beauty, superb infrastructure, and a clear sense of pride from those who live, work, and play there. I’m still in awe of the beauty of the UK coast. From Kynance to Caithness, and Brancaster to Benone, the beaches of Great Britain and Northern Ireland are the most magnificent on earth.”

For more details, visit The Times and Sunday Times Best UK Beaches.

Continue Reading

Community2 days ago

Sumatran tiger cub named Zaza is first ever born in a Welsh zoo

MANOR WILDLIFE PARK said this week that it is thrilled to announce the birth of a Sumatran tiger cub, named...

Community2 days ago

Neyland Carnival 2024: A resounding success

THIS year’s carnival dazzled spectators and participants alike today, marking one of the most memorable events in recent years. Thousands...

News3 days ago

Swimmers warned off west Wales beaches following pollution incident

SWIMMERS have been advised to avoid two popular beaches in west Wales following a pollution incident. On Friday (Jul 12)...

Politics3 days ago

King Charles III addresses Senedd to mark 25th anniversary of Welsh devolution

KING CHARLES III addressed the Welsh Parliament on a visit to celebrate 25 years since the then-National Assembly for Wales...

News5 days ago

Several injured in Oakwood Theme Park ride incident

A ROUTINE day at Oakwood Theme Park took a horrifying turn yesterday when the park’s ‘Bounce’ ride malfunctioned, resulting in...

Politics5 days ago

Tufnell promises to make sure Pembrokeshire is at the heart of government policy

MID AND SOUTH Pembrokeshire’s new Labour MP has travelled to London for his first day representing the constituency after his...

Crime6 days ago

Milford man admits 23 sexual offences against children

A MILFORD HAVEN man has appeared before a District Judge accused of committing 23 sexual offences against four girls under...

News1 week ago

Cabinet recommended to approve Pembrokeshire hosting Eisteddfod 2026

PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL Cabinet Members are being recommended to approve an offer to host the National Eisteddfod in 2026. As...

Community1 week ago

Milford Haven Carnival 2024: Round Table praised for ‘best parade in years’

MILFORD HAVEN was a hub of excitement and celebration on Saturday, July 6, as the annual carnival returned to the...

News1 week ago

The National Eisteddfod 2026 could be held in Pembrokeshire

THE National Eisteddfod 2026 could be held on the outskirts of Cardigan, just inside Pembrokeshire if Pembrokeshire County Council formalise...

Popular This Week