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Wales is to freeze new road building projects during a review of highway schemes which will consider the impact of road transport on the climate emergency.

The move is part of a goal to radically reduce pollution in Wales in order to meet statutory Net Zero emission targets by 2050.

Announcing the road building freeze later today (22 June) in the Senedd, Lee Waters, deputy minister for climate change, will say: “Since 1990, Welsh emissions have fallen by 31%. But to reach our statutory target of Net Zero emissions by 2050, we need to do much more.

“In the next 10 years, we are going to need to more than double all the cuts we have managed over the last 30 years, if we are going to keep temperature rises within safe limits. That means changes in all parts of our lives. Transport makes up some 17% of our total emissions and so must play its part.

“We need a shift away from spending money on projects that encourage more people to drive and spend more money on maintaining our roads and investing in real alternatives that give people a meaningful choice.”

The full terms of reference for the review have yet to be published. However, the review is expected to consider how Wales can shift spending towards better maintaining its existing roads, rather than building new ones, and look at all proposed road investments, whether funded directly by the Welsh government or indirectly by grants.

The membership of the external panel that will carry out the review will also be announced at a later date.

The panel will be asked to consider setting tests for when new roads are the right solutions for transport problems in line with Llwybr Newydd, the recently-published Wales Transport Strategy.