Denbighshire County Council says it recognises the need for investment for the transport infrastructure in South East Wales, as announced by the Welsh Government this week – but is asking what are the plans for the North Wales region.
The Council’s comments follow an announcement by Transport Minister Edwina Hart of a £1 billion investment in a relief road for the M4 motorway in the Newport area.
Whilst the Council recognises the need for investment in the heavily populated areas of the South East, it wants some reassurances that funding could also be made available for infrastructure projects in North Wales too.
Leader of Denbighshire, Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, said: “There are two transport infrastructure issues that need addressing in North Wales.
“The A55 arterial route across the region is a vital road connection from east to west and there is a desperate need to invest in improving its condition. It is one of the main road networks connecting Wales with Ireland and is an important part of the infrastructure from an economic benefit perspective.
“There is also a strong need for modernising the rail network linking North Wales with other regions.
“The North Wales region has commissioned a study to quantify the benefits of modernising the rail network and early indications are that there would be significant benefits. We would urge the Welsh Government and Westminster to consider the findings when they become available.
“The North Wales main line is a key economic asset, with the potential to significantly enhance accessibility for the whole of the region. Better rail connectivity would help address the economic and social challenges. It would also assist the tourism industry – we need the infrastructure in place to make our region a lot more accessible to visitors.
“We currently have good connectivity to London, and Cardiff to a certain extent. However there are weaknesses in services from North Wales to Manchester, Liverpoool and the regional airports and this needs to be addressed.
“We have also been keeping a watching brief on the Chancellor’s proposal to create a high speed rail link between Manchester and Leeds, which could be a catalyst for economic growth for the North West of England. However, North Wales needs to capitalise on existing opportunities in the north west so it’s vitally important that fast regular rail services are developed beyond the current service level now.
“Whilst we recognise the need for investment in South Wales, we must not become the forgotten region in the North.”