A55 Flintshire: 'Covid traffic study needed' before go-ahead

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image copyrightWelsh Government
image captionThe "red route" runs from Northop through to the border with England

Work to build a road in north Wales should not begin until the impact Covid has had on traffic patterns has been analysed, Senedd members have said.

The Deeside "Red Route" plan for the A55 in Flintshire would include a new eight-mile (13km) dual carriageway.

But opponents say it will cut through ancient woodland and contribute to climate change.

The Senedd petitions committee held an inquiry into the scheme after 1,400 people signed a petition opposing it.

The committee's report is calling for:

  • A detailed reassessment of the costs.
  • Future stages of the project to be assessed against updated transport guidance.
  • Design work to minimise the impact on ancient woodland.
  • The need to consider long-term changes to travel patterns and behaviour post-Covid.

Chairwoman Janet Finch-Saunders, Conservative MS for Aberconwy, said: "Concerns were raised with us about the environmental impact of the proposed route, as well as arguments supporting the need for the new road in order to ease traffic congestion in the area and to support local jobs and the economy.

"What nobody could foresee at the beginning of our investigations was the Covid-19 pandemic, and the impact it would have on the way we live our lives."

image copyrightWelsh Government
image captionThe £50m North Wales metro plan seeks to improve rail and bus connections in the area

The committee has made six recommendations in total.

As well as taking into account a full assessment of Covid travel patterns, which should be available to any public inquiry into the scheme, it wants any road scheme to be part of a wider package of public transport improvements, such as the proposed North Wales metro.

It also wants mitigation of the impact of any scheme on areas of ancient woodland through consultation with organisations such as the Woodland Trust and Natural Resources.

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