02 November, 2023
The Herald, by Gareth Bevan

Britain Remade, which campaigns across the UK to unlock jobs and economic growth, has today launched a petition calling on the Welsh Government to “drop its ban on new road projects, re-commit to getting a third Menai crossing built, and work with the Government in Westminster to secure the funds necessary for the project.”

It is the latest phase of the group’s campaign for a new road connection between the Welsh mainland and Ynys Môn, which is wholly dependent on two heavily congested 19th century bridges for road access.

The launch of the petition follows a public meeting on the island last month, organised by Britain Remade, that brought together residents and politicians from across the political spectrum, including the MP for Ynys Môn Virginia Crosbie and Cllr. Sonia Williams and Cllr. Dyfed Wyn Jones from Plaid Cymru.

The mood of the meeting was clear with the overwhelming majority demanding politicians in Cardiff give the plans for a new crossing the go ahead as quickly as possible.

Not only will the urgently required new road slash congestion and emissions, but will also support investment on Ynys Môn like a new nuclear power station at Wylfa – creating high-quality jobs, while helping to fight climate change by providing clean, secure domestic energy.

Each day 42,000 vehicles rely on the two existing ageing bridges; however these bridges suffer from congestion, and regular closures for maintenance and in high winds.

Last year’s temporary closure of the Menai Bridge for repairs caused traffic chaos and economic pain for people and businesses in North West Wales.

Despite this, the long hoped for plans for a bridge fit for the 21st Century were cancelled when the Welsh Government scrapped 55 road building projects on climate grounds, introducing an effective ban on any future road building in Wales.

This is despite the Welsh Government’s own predictions showing the number of vehicles crossing the Strait will continue to increase beyond the next decade – meaning worse congestion and higher emissions.

Polling by Britain Remade has found that scrapping the plan for a new crossing is opposed by close to half (46%) of people within the region and supported by just a third (33%) of people who live in north Wales.

The poll also found that half of people across Wales (49%) are opposed to the ban on new roads being built, while a third (33%) support it and 18% say they don’t know. Half of people (49%) also thought that banning road building would be ineffective at reducing overall carbon emissions in Wales.

Research carried out by Britain Remade has shown that delivering new road projects, like the third Menai crossing, can happen at the same time as tackling climate change.

The research, which looked at the impact of Westminster’s main scheme for building and upgrading Britain’s motorways and major roads, found that adding 370 miles on new roads increased CO2 emissions by just 0.1%. This shows that the best way to cut emissions is to make it easier for drivers to choose electric cars – and not by banning new roads.

The polling demonstrates wide opposition to the road building ban across the political spectrum with 67% of Conservative voters, 46% Labour and 43% of Plaid Cymru voters all against.

Sam Richards, Founder and Campaign Director of Britain Remade, said:

“Every time I speak to people on Ynys Môn I’m struck by how much people rely on the two ageing bridges linking the island to the mainland.

“People on Ynys Môn are desperate for a modern connection to mainland Wales, which has been promised for so many years.

“Not only is the lack of a 21st century bridge making life difficult for residents and businesses, it’s leading to more congestion and higher emissions – while doing little to tackle climate change.

“This petition will send a clear message to the governments in Cardiff and Westminster: stop playing politics, and work together to make the lives of those who rely on the Menai crossing easier.”

Support the campaign for a third Menai crossing by signing the petition here: