A framework which aims to deliver a coherent approach to improving public transport across the whole South East Wales region was ratified yesterday (Thursday 1st August) by the Cardiff Capital Region Transport Authority (RTA).
The Cardiff Capital Region City Deal and Welsh Government will work together to secure the £50 million South Wales Metro Plus programme of improvements and initiatives across South Wales, which will include private sector contributions. The programme supplements the core £734m South Wales Metro scheme being delivered by Transport for Wales, work on which has also begun.
A Common Assessment Framework (CAF) will ensure that the 10 proposed Metro Plus Phase 1 schemes are not viewed as individual transport schemes, but rather a programme of enabling infrastructure to stimulate economic growth and regeneration of the region, by supporting the mobility of people and skills.
Phase 1 of The Metro Plus Regional Transport Authority (RTA) Programme will see each Local Authority within South East Wales receive a £3m share towards implementing schemes in their area. The draft framework sets out to enable these projects to be developed in a comprehensive, but streamlined way, initially testing for ‘strategic fit’ and then progressing through a series of gateways which seek to demonstrate the core ‘economic’, ‘deliverability’ and ‘affordability’ aspects of each proposed project.
In addition, Welsh Government is preparing a Metro Enhancement Framework (MEF), based upon 13 transport corridors, which will assist with prioritising transport interventions across the region. The framework will look to include and complement City Deal priorities along with ensuring that all schemes consider the wider goals in relation to climate change, active travel, health and any other national and regional policies and strategies.
The programme of schemes proposed within Metro Plus Phase 1 include:
- The creation of ‘interchanges’ that incorporate all modes of transport, acting as key hubs for travel
- Enhanced Park and Ride facilities, complete with electric charging points
- New and extended Metro networks that will open up and enable improved access to new and existing activities for work, training, education, culture, retail and leisure
Phase 1 will see a £15m investment from Cardiff Capital Region City Deal, with a co-investment of up to £15m from Welsh Government’s Local Transport Fund subject to future rounds of bidding. The remaining £20m will be sourced through local developer contributions, private sector investment and other contributions such as Council capital funds. Programme delivery will commence during 2019 and be complete by 2022.
The key outcomes of the Metro Plus programme include: improvements in accessibility, improvements for areas of deprivation, accommodation of future population change, supporting thriving towns and communities, as well as improving all modes of transport. The £734 million Metro project is the cornerstone of the £1.2billion City Deal, creating a transport infrastructure which will help enable the social and economic objectives of the Cardiff Capital Region.
Councillor Huw David, Chair of the CCR Transport Authority, and Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council, said: “The draft Common Assessment Framework we have developed for the Metro Plus Programme will help to achieve goals that aim to tackle poverty and deprivation, improve access to skills, enhance employment opportunities and provide improved infrastructure as well as healthier communities.
“Aligning closely to the Welsh Government’s Metro Enhancement Framework, we are confident that this new way of working will fully deliver region-wide benefits to the whole of South East Wales.”
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Chair, Cardiff Capital Region said: “We have been working closely with our colleagues in Welsh Government to ensure that the schemes proposed through Phase 1 of Metro Plus will utilise every opportunity to stimulate our regional economy.
“The draft Common Assessment Framework we have revealed today will help ensure that these 10 projects aren’t viewed in isolation but are instead developed using a joined-up region wide approach to improving transport across South East Wales.
“We will be working closely with the individual Local Authorities to support and monitor the progress of all of the current Phase 1 Metro Plus schemes, and ensure projects are developing in complementary ways.”
Economy and Transport Minister Ken Skates said: “It’s important that as partners across the region develop projects to extend and develop the South East Wales Metro network over the next few years, that these are planned and delivered in a joined up and coherent way.
“The draft Framework agreed today will help us to do just that – to look at each of the 10 ‘Metro Plus’ projects that have been put forward and ensure that they are integrated, deliverable and funded in a realistic way.
“I look forward to continuing our excellent working relationship with Transport for Wales, Cardiff Capital Region, the CCR Transport Authority and our other valued partners to deliver the step change we all want to see in public transport right across the region.”
James Price, Chief Executive of Transport for Wales, said: “Transport for Wales is delivering the South Wales Metro as part of our £5 billion investment programme to transform the transport sector across Wales. We are keen to work collaboratively with partners to enhance our developments and improve the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales.”
A Strategic Outline Programme for Metro Plus Phase 1 was agreed in principle by Regional Cabinet on 18th February 2019. A report will now be submitted to Regional Cabinet to seek approval to adopt the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) in the Autumn.