5 Conclusion |
89. By definition responsibility for cross-border
road and rail is shared between English and Welsh authorities.
Historically this has made it difficult to establish and deliver
clear strategic goals for their development. We believe this has
meant road and rail routes between England and Wales have sometimes
suffered from neglect.
90. Our inquiry has shown some encouraging recent
examples of good co-ordination between the UK and Welsh Governments
to secure improvements to cross-border routes, most notably with
the electrification of the Great Western Main Line (GWML) from
London to Swansea. There have been several other welcome developments
on rail investment, such as the planned new link from the GWML
to Heathrow Airport and the efforts to develop a business case
for the electrification of cross-border rail routes in North Wales.
Each of these rail projectsif advancedwould be a
significant boon for the Welsh economy.
91. On the other hand, there is room for improved
co-ordination of efforts between the UK Government and Welsh Government
on cross-border roads. Although the Welsh Government is expected
to announce its plans for alleviating congestion on the M4 shortly,
doubts remain about how these improvements will be funded. In
some cases, such as the DfT's recent decision to fund improvements
to the A55/A483 junction, there has been a lack of communication
between the UK and Welsh Governments, which has limited the opportunities
to take a more strategic view on infrastructure improvements.
Disagreements about the future of the Severn Crossings also endanger
the prospects of identifying a solution that is best for the Welsh
people and economy.
92. The construction of the first stage of a
high speed rail network will be one of the most significant additions
to the UK's transport infrastructure in recent years. If Wales
is not part of the UK's high speed rail network, the Welsh economy
will suffer. Ongoing and significant investment in cross-border
links between England and Wales will be required in the future
to ensure that Wales is not left behind. If the high speed rail
network goes ahead, it is essential that Wales is connected to
it sooner rather than later.