Severn Crossing

Severn Crossing

An influential group of MPs has slammed the Welsh government for effectively ignoring a cross-industry group set up to deliver the country’s freight strategy.

In its Crossing the Border report, the Commons’ Welsh Affairs Committee said it was disappointed that the Welsh government had failed to convene a meeting of the Wales Freight Group between 2010 and 2012.

It said: “It had denied the freight industry a key mechanism to interact with the Welsh government and other key stakeholders.”

Giving evidence to the committee, Ian Gallagher, the FTA’s policy manager for Wales, said the group, established in 2005 to help deliver proposals in the Wales Freight Strategy, had worked very well in the past but had lost influence with policymakers.

“Unfortunately, the group has not sat for two years, despite our best efforts to generate interest within the Welsh government to get the forum up and running again. We are missing… an ability to interact with major stakeholders in Wales by not sitting down around the table,” he added.


Welsh transport minister Carl Sargeant admitted to MPs that the group hadn’t met for two years, but hinted that this could have been down to it not doing what it was intended to do.

He added: “It became a single focus group of local issues as opposed to a more strategic vision for delivery of freight across Wales. I have ordered a review.

“I am establishing a new freight group and I expect that to be driven by a relationship between Welsh government and the stakeholders.”

Since the committee’s evidence sessions, Sargeant’s new group – now made up of hauliers, transport bodies, academics and representatives of local government – has held its first meeting (28 January).

  • Crossing the Border attacks the DfT for failing to agree to cut toll levels once the Severn crossings transfer to the public sector in 2018. The report said toll levels were hampering business development in Wales, and their removal would boost economic activity by £107m.