The Project Development Officer – Transport presented a report, in order to provide Members with an update on the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal’s transport initiatives.
She confirmed that in February this year, the Regional Joint Cabinet agreed in principle, to support a Phase 1 Metro Plus Programme. This included 10 schemes (1 in each local authority), which included transport hubs, Park and Ride sites & bus priority corridors. The package is valued at around £50m with £15m from Welsh Government (WG), £15m from the City Deal Investment and Intervention Framework, and £20m from local authorities /Private Sector. A bid for Local Transport Fund was submitted for the first tranche of the WG funding last February and £3.5m from a £4.2m bid was awarded to Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council in May. The Project Development Officer – Transport added that Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council is acting as the lead authority for the Local Transport Fund.
On 12 September 2019, the Regional Joint Cabinet agreed further delegations to the Regional Transport Authority to make decisions in respect of the £15m City Deal contribution. It also agreed to delegations to the Programme Manager of City Deal in consultation with the Chairperson of the Regional Transport Authority, the local authority Transport Member and S151 Officer, to authorise spend on the individual approved projects. Of the 10 projects proposed, each were at different stages of delivery. Four were at design stage and will be ready for delivery within the next year, and the remainder were going through WelTAG Stages 1 & 3 (feasibility & outline design).
The Project Development Officer, added that the Programme offered opportunities to enhance resilience in town centres & high streets; better access to employment, health, education & leisure, links with the Wellbeing and Future Generation goals of prosperity & resilience, as well as further offering equality of access & community cohesion.
These schemes further gave scope to include latest technology advances in Low Emission Vehicle charging, energy generation & storage opportunities, to improve air quality & support clean growth. They also allowed for flexibility of delivering Electric Vehicle charging in response to predicted demand up to 2025, and passive provision up to 2030. Schemes are also considering ducting for digital.
To enable schemes to consider ‘additionality’, a Common Assessment Framework is being prepared to assess schemes against, to ensure that they include further opportunities around Active Travel, Skills development & training, Income Generation & Return on Investment, Digital Infrastructure and Electric Vehicle Infrastructure.
We have also been working with WG & Transport for Wales to prepare a Metro Enhancement Framework, which will be corridor based and potentially form the basis for a future Metro Phase, with such schemes being evidence based. The ‘additionality’ included in the Common Assessment Framework has also been incorporated into the Metro Enhancement Framework. A further report will be presented to the Regional Transport Authority in November 2019 with an update on this work, along with an update on all of the Low Emission Vehicle studies currently being carried out.
These included the following:-
She concluded her submission by confirming, that the reports aims were for Members to note the information contained therein, and for them to in turn, to provide any comments on the initiatives.
In terms of the Phase 1 Metro Plus programme interchanges at Ebbw Vale/Abertillery Spur and Porth, a Member noted that these were RED on the RAG status and he asked why this was the case.
The Project Development Officer – Transport, confirmed that this was an ongoing issue which had revealed as a result of a Welsh Government commissioned study, that there were land use/ownership issues at these locations which though at present remained unresolved, were being investigated. She added that the Ebbw Vale/Abertillery Spur project had been due to be completed in July, though this had now been put back to October due to the above reason.
In paragraph 7of the report, the Common Assessment Framework, reference was made to the promotion of active travel and developing proposals in line with a standard to encourage and support walking and cycling. Particular reference was also made to explore an opportunity to roll-out the ‘Next Bike project’ provision at scale. A Member asked for an update on progress regarding this initiative.
The Project Development Officer – Transport confirmed that the scheme was already in operation in Cardiff and to date was proving quite successful. If this success continued longer term, then it was hoped that this could roll-out to other regions of the City Deal.
A Member suggested that regular updates should be given to Members of the Joint Scrutiny Committee, in respect of progress regarding the transport initiatives outlined in the report.
RECOMMENDATIONS: That Members of the Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee noted the report; that this item remain on the Forward Work Programme and that they receive an annual update. Members further noted the progress made to date and that the project was still in its early stages.