Union Connectivity Review

The study of British and Irish roads - their construction, numbering, history, mapping, past and future official roads proposals and general roads musings.

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thomas417
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by thomas417 »

Phil wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 23:12
avtur wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 08:52 I notice that road links to Wales are mentioned, A55 in the north and M4 in the south. I thought the Welsh assembly had knocked any new road development on the head, so is this part of the plan dead in the water already?
They have!

Both the Scottish and Welsh Governments have taken a principled stance that they will NOT build any more roads due to the effects of climate change bought on by mass car travel. If congestion is a problem then people should be taking the bus / train / using park and ride schemes is their view.

The two exceptions to this policy are:-

(1) Schemes that are already under construction
(2) Schemes where the main benefits are safety related (i.e. roads with a bad record of head on collisions where dualling them significantly reduces KSIs).

That is why work on dualling the A465 in Wales and A9 in Scotland are continuing - but most other schemes have been shelved.

This stance greatly annoys Boris as he (and the Conservative party) are still wedded to the idea that private motoring is a fundamental freedom / road building is good, but Devolution means he is powerless to do anything about it.

Thus the 'Union Connectivity Review' was launched - with the hidden subplot of trying to find ways round the fact Boris has no control over transport in the devolved administrations. A totally unnecessary piece of work that has not only mostly stated the bleeding obvious (Boris' fantasy bridge to NI has no economic or social justification whatever, the M4 round Newport could do with being replaced / expanded / diverted) but one which has also made it even less likely the Scots / Welsh will accept cash from Boris for road schemes because of the perceived disrespect he has shown to the principles of devolution.
What a load of nonsense. These are politicians we’re dealing with and if there are votes in it, it will go.

What are all these grand roads Boris is building because he sees private motoring as a fundamental freedom?

Give me a break.
Micro The Maniac
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by Micro The Maniac »

wrinkly wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 01:34 Just as I was writing about the Union Connectivity Review in another thread, the Review's final report has been published!
Not bad...

But the maps on pages 33 and 36 highlight the problem that England's network is London-centric... a Dover-Southampton-Plymouth corridor would make a huge difference IMHO

Also, the much talked-about Oxford-Cambridge corridor is noticeable by its absence!
Phil
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by Phil »

thomas417 wrote: Sat Nov 27, 2021 00:27
Phil wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 23:12
avtur wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 08:52 I notice that road links to Wales are mentioned, A55 in the north and M4 in the south. I thought the Welsh assembly had knocked any new road development on the head, so is this part of the plan dead in the water already?
They have!

Both the Scottish and Welsh Governments have taken a principled stance that they will NOT build any more roads due to the effects of climate change bought on by mass car travel. If congestion is a problem then people should be taking the bus / train / using park and ride schemes is their view.

The two exceptions to this policy are:-

(1) Schemes that are already under construction
(2) Schemes where the main benefits are safety related (i.e. roads with a bad record of head on collisions where dualling them significantly reduces KSIs).

That is why work on dualling the A465 in Wales and A9 in Scotland are continuing - but most other schemes have been shelved.

This stance greatly annoys Boris as he (and the Conservative party) are still wedded to the idea that private motoring is a fundamental freedom / road building is good, but Devolution means he is powerless to do anything about it.

Thus the 'Union Connectivity Review' was launched - with the hidden subplot of trying to find ways round the fact Boris has no control over transport in the devolved administrations. A totally unnecessary piece of work that has not only mostly stated the bleeding obvious (Boris' fantasy bridge to NI has no economic or social justification whatever, the M4 round Newport could do with being replaced / expanded / diverted) but one which has also made it even less likely the Scots / Welsh will accept cash from Boris for road schemes because of the perceived disrespect he has shown to the principles of devolution.
What a load of nonsense. These are politicians we’re dealing with and if there are votes in it, it will go.

What are all these grand roads Boris is building because he sees private motoring as a fundamental freedom?

Give me a break.

Go look it up - Boris and members of his party have been extremely vocal about wanting to build the M4 relief road round Newport for example when Its NONE of their Business! Boris is also the one who floated the idea of a road bridge / tunnel to N.I. despite anyone with any degree of sense knowing its totally impractical / uneconomic (as well as being outside his control given the only remotely feasible option landing is to / from Scotland).

Moreover his party have been very vocal at local levels opposing charging motorists for driving into cities despite a legal prescient having been set over the death of an Asthmatic child in London that poor air quality can be cited by coroners as the cause of death meaning there is a legally binding obligation to cut exhaust emissions where they exceed statutory limits.

Or lets put it like this shall we, if the Welsh and Scots say they will, on principle, stop capacity creating new road-building unless there is a pressing safety concern to be addressed, yet England is still prepared to build more new road capacity (regardless of whether its actually under construction right now) who is the more motorist friendly administration out of the three?

I reiterate there was absolutely no need for a 'Union Connectivity Review' in the first place - its pure party politics where Boris threw a bone to the DUP / Unionists (who have been kicking off about the post Brexit arrangements) and a none too subtle attempt to muscle in on aspects of policy the Conservatives don't like in an attempt to subvert Devolution. All thats gone and done is make the Welsh / Scotts even more determined in their anti-roads stance....

As for parties dropping policies voters don't like - given the most recent Scottish Government elections returned a SNP and Green party coalition, has it ever occurred to you that not everyone wants to be Mr Toad and with heightened environmental awareness these days 'anti car' polices are not always the vote loser you think they are.
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KeithW
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by KeithW »

Phil wrote: Sat Nov 27, 2021 09:54 Go look it up - Boris and members of his party have been extremely vocal about wanting to build the M4 relief road round Newport for example when Its NONE of their Business! Boris is also the one who floated the idea of a road bridge / tunnel to N.I. despite anyone with any degree of sense knowing its totally impractical / uneconomic (as well as being outside his control given the only remotely feasible option landing is to / from Scotland).
Well thats arguable, shipping goods from England to Ireland does tend to involve getting to the ports of Pembroke Dock, Fishguard, Milford Haven and Cairnryan, While I personally think the bridge idea is bonkers the idea was revived by Prof Alan Dunlop of Liverpool University and had been endorsed by the NP Scottish Brexit Minister Michael Russell MSP and by Nicola Sturgeon who said
Whether it's around a bridge or in other ways strengthening the relationship between Scotland, the north of Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is a big priority for my government.
Boris seems to have jumped on the bandwagon rather than pushed it out.
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by Herned »

KeithW wrote: Sat Nov 27, 2021 10:51
Whether it's around a bridge or in other ways strengthening the relationship between Scotland, the north of Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is a big priority for my government.
Boris seems to have jumped on the bandwagon rather than pushed it out.
I would say that is a politician's answer to an obvious trap. She's not going to gain anything by saying she doesn't support a link to NI, so supporting it whilst knowing it is never going to happen is the best option
Phil
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by Phil »

KeithW wrote: Sat Nov 27, 2021 10:51
Phil wrote: Sat Nov 27, 2021 09:54 Go look it up - Boris and members of his party have been extremely vocal about wanting to build the M4 relief road round Newport for example when Its NONE of their Business! Boris is also the one who floated the idea of a road bridge / tunnel to N.I. despite anyone with any degree of sense knowing its totally impractical / uneconomic (as well as being outside his control given the only remotely feasible option landing is to / from Scotland).
Well thats arguable, shipping goods from England to Ireland does tend to involve getting to the ports of Pembroke Dock, Fishguard, Milford Haven and Cairnryan
Not in the way you are putting it. The Devolution legislation is very clear - transport has nothing to do with Westminster politics and thus what the Welsh / Scots decide for themselves is non of Boris's business. Any attempt to disrespect this division of responsibilities should be harshly stamped on.

If however you are trying to say the Devolution legislation was flawed because it did not include provision for the English to have a say in transport matters which could be said to be of interest (i.e. road access to the ports serving NI / ROI) then that would be a valid observation.

Furthermore if Bori's came out and said the Devolution legislation needed amending to give him a say in 'strategic transport matters' then he would have a legitimate argument (though not one he would necessarily win and which would only alienate the devolved nations further).
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KeithW
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by KeithW »

Phil wrote: Sat Nov 27, 2021 14:06
Not in the way you are putting it. The Devolution legislation is very clear - transport has nothing to do with Westminster politics and thus what the Welsh / Scots decide for themselves is non of Boris's business. Any attempt to disrespect this division of responsibilities should be harshly stamped on.

If however you are trying to say the Devolution legislation was flawed because it did not include provision for the English to have a say in transport matters which could be said to be of interest (i.e. road access to the ports serving NI / ROI) then that would be a valid observation.

Furthermore if Bori's came out and said the Devolution legislation needed amending to give him a say in 'strategic transport matters' then he would have a legitimate argument (though not one he would necessarily win and which would only alienate the devolved nations further).
I dont believe he has said or even implied that. I would agree that the UK PM is in no position to step in and take control, However the report i does not suggest that and is I think rather reasonable. Looking at the proposals for the A75 and A77 this is what is said.
Due to the nature of devolution and the fact that the
majority of strategic benefits of improvements to
the A75 would fall outside of Scotland, despite the
cost resting wholly with the Scottish Government,
the Review believes that the UK Government should
make a commitment to support a significant upgrade
to this route. The Review also encourages the
Scottish Government to improve the A77 to support
journeys between Belfast, Glasgow, and Aberdeen.
How is offering financial support for improving routes that have deficiencies that everyone recognises usurping the role of the Scottish Government ? The point made is in fact that there are roads that benefit the UK the financial burden for which falls entirely on the Scottish taxpayer.

This is precisely the reason that in the USA the federal government funded most the construction of the Interstate Highway System which passed into the ownership of the States they ran through,
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wrinkly
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by wrinkly »

The tone of the report of the review is necessarily very different from the tone of some of the things the PM is alleged to have said. Unfortunately I don't have any actual quotes from him.
djw1981
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by djw1981 »

The issue as I see it there is the UK Gov see it as important and are happy to directly fund it, however SG see it as less important (after all most freight passes through and doesn't bring money into D&G) and thus won't fund it. Since transport is devolved, and money UK Gov gives SG cannot easily be ringfenced or have strings attached, thus this would just be a general increase in block grant and SG may spend it on something else.

The politics of D&G will come into it too with both westminster seats being Tory and likewise at Holyrood. UKG funding would be covering in Union Jacks to try and boost their reputation locally as relieving traffic in small villages etc; SNP won't want this!
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by Phil »

KeithW wrote: Sat Nov 27, 2021 15:25
Phil wrote: Sat Nov 27, 2021 14:06
Not in the way you are putting it. The Devolution legislation is very clear - transport has nothing to do with Westminster politics and thus what the Welsh / Scots decide for themselves is non of Boris's business. Any attempt to disrespect this division of responsibilities should be harshly stamped on.

If however you are trying to say the Devolution legislation was flawed because it did not include provision for the English to have a say in transport matters which could be said to be of interest (i.e. road access to the ports serving NI / ROI) then that would be a valid observation.

Furthermore if Bori's came out and said the Devolution legislation needed amending to give him a say in 'strategic transport matters' then he would have a legitimate argument (though not one he would necessarily win and which would only alienate the devolved nations further).
I dont believe he has said or even implied that. I would agree that the UK PM is in no position to step in and take control, However the report i does not suggest that and is I think rather reasonable. Looking at the proposals for the A75 and A77 this is what is said.
Due to the nature of devolution and the fact that the
majority of strategic benefits of improvements to
the A75 would fall outside of Scotland, despite the
cost resting wholly with the Scottish Government,
the Review believes that the UK Government should
make a commitment to support a significant upgrade
to this route. The Review also encourages the
Scottish Government to improve the A77 to support
journeys between Belfast, Glasgow, and Aberdeen.
How is offering financial support for improving routes that have deficiencies that everyone recognises usurping the role of the Scottish Government ? The point made is in fact that there are roads that benefit the UK the financial burden for which falls entirely on the Scottish taxpayer.

The point is the Scottish Government have made it abundantly clear cash is NOT the issue here, its climate change and the need to significantly cut the attractiveness of car travel*- no amount of bribery (which is what it ultimately is) will cause them to change their minds on this principled stance.

If you want the A75 / A77 significantly upgraded then the first step needs to be putting other parties in charge at Holyrood, not offering cash. Much the same is true with the M4 round Newport or the A55 in Wales where it needs a change in Governance at the Welsh parliament. Until that happens the devolved nations will continue to stick two fingers up to Boris regardless of how much he opens his Wallet.


*Factual analysis of traffic flows PROVES that increasing roadspace by building bigger roads does promote traffic growth and car usage.
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Vierwielen
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by Vierwielen »

This map shows almost all the routes mentioned (apart from links to Cornwall). Observant readers might notice that all the roads in this map also have an E-number attached to them.
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by avtur »

Phil wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 23:12

Both the Scottish and Welsh Governments have taken a principled stance that they will NOT build any more roads due to the effects of climate change bought on by mass car travel. If congestion is a problem then people should be taking the bus / train / using park and ride schemes is their view.

In my opinion this is misplaced, we are firmly on a trajectory of EV adoption, by the time these schemes are in place the level of EV adoption will be even higher, therefore the arguments being made simply do not add up, IMHO.
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bothar
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by bothar »

Long distance connectivity is a legitimate and appropriate objective of transport planning. It has little or nothing to do with park and rides and suchlike. There are important gains to be had from changing the 240 days a year commute but this should not be at the cost of policies that cut off distant regions. Just as a county council cannot be allowed neglect routes leading to their border neither should devolved governments. Hence we have the EU Ten-T routes.
I think the problem here is that Boris is making politics with this stuff and this isn't helping the devolved governments respond to it.
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by Glenn A »

South Wales is undergoing the South Wales Metro scheme, which should be completed in 2023 and will electrify most of the commuter services out of Cardiff. The Valleys, where thousands of people commute into Cardiff every day for work and study, have suffered from slow diesel services that are often overcrowded.
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by KeithW »

Glenn A wrote: Sun Nov 28, 2021 09:59 South Wales is undergoing the South Wales Metro scheme, which should be completed in 2023 and will electrify most of the commuter services out of Cardiff. The Valleys, where thousands of people commute into Cardiff every day for work and study, have suffered from slow diesel services that are often overcrowded.
Very laudable but one wonders how works planned for 2023 will be funded given that money supplied by the EU runs out in 2022.
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wrinkly
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by wrinkly »

KeithW wrote: Sun Nov 28, 2021 10:55
Very laudable but one wonders how works planned for 2023 will be funded given that money supplied by the EU runs out in 2022.
I think the EU deadline was extended to June 2023 but I haven't seen anything on the subject recently.
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by Phil »

avtur wrote: Sat Nov 27, 2021 18:59
Phil wrote: Fri Nov 26, 2021 23:12

Both the Scottish and Welsh Governments have taken a principled stance that they will NOT build any more roads due to the effects of climate change bought on by mass car travel. If congestion is a problem then people should be taking the bus / train / using park and ride schemes is their view.

In my opinion this is misplaced, we are firmly on a trajectory of EV adoption, by the time these schemes are in place the level of EV adoption will be even higher, therefore the arguments being made simply do not add up, IMHO.
Firstly, you may well considered their stance 'misplaced' - but as residents of Sussex, what you or I may think is irrelevant. Due to Devolution the ONLY people whose opinion actually does matter is the residents of Scotland / Wales - who many in England forget do have the power to ditch such opinions by electing a party which takes a different view. Put in this way if the Scottish Government was run by the Conservatives then I doubt such anti-car opinions would continue.

Secondly even if the vehicle is an EV it takes up physical roadspace. Although EVs might deal with the population issue it does nothing to change the fact that building more roads just encourages more traffic and every extra lane / road you build is a net loss of CO2 absorbing vegetation. And thats before we get into the subject of the environmental damage done by the manufacture of all those batteries (fuel cell powered vehicles still look some way off) needed to power huge quantities of EVs, etc.

No, however you cut it the fact remains facilitating mass motoring is unsustainable for the planet - and when taken as a whole, EVs make very little difference apart from in the sphere of exhaust emissions! Just because human beings may have been doing something for a long time doesn't make it right thing to do - but in England most political parties haven't got the guts to tell voters that THEY are the problem here and their mindset needs to change.

The Welsh and Scottish administrations are not so timid (I don't for a minute believe that the Welsh / Scotts are any less wedded to their cars than the English), but so far the Governments there have not been punished electorally which suggests such policies might not necessarily be the as vote losing as many seem to assume.
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by Phil »

bothar wrote: Sat Nov 27, 2021 21:23
I think the problem here is that Boris is making politics with this stuff and this isn't helping the devolved governments respond to it.
Precisely

What with emotions already running high after Brexit (where the devolved nations overwhelmingly voted to remain) considerable tact and diplomacy is needed to not make tensions worse. Skills which Boris has shown himself to lack, many, many times in the past.
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

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Glenn A wrote: Sun Nov 28, 2021 09:59 South Wales is undergoing the South Wales Metro scheme, which should be completed in 2023 and will electrify most of the commuter services out of Cardiff. The Valleys, where thousands of people commute into Cardiff every day for work and study, have suffered from slow diesel services that are often overcrowded.
I mean, they are electrifying the lines and buying new stock, but I do sometimes wonder if they've grossly underestimated the passenger numbers especially with induced demand. Peak time Valley Line services could overcrowd easily in the first three stops with two cars. Crossrail, Tube and regional stock such as GWR is incredibly long in comparison to the 4-car FLIRTs that are supposed to be the holy grail for commuters in Wales for the next 20 years. We'll see how that goes.
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Re: Union Connectivity Review

Post by Vierwielen »

DB617 wrote: Sun Nov 28, 2021 23:59
Glenn A wrote: Sun Nov 28, 2021 09:59 South Wales is undergoing the South Wales Metro scheme, which should be completed in 2023 and will electrify most of the commuter services out of Cardiff. The Valleys, where thousands of people commute into Cardiff every day for work and study, have suffered from slow diesel services that are often overcrowded.
I mean, they are electrifying the lines and buying new stock, but I do sometimes wonder if they've grossly underestimated the passenger numbers especially with induced demand. Peak time Valley Line services could overcrowd easily in the first three stops with two cars. Crossrail, Tube and regional stock such as GWR is incredibly long in comparison to the 4-car FLIRTs that are supposed to be the holy grail for commuters in Wales for the next 20 years. We'll see how that goes.
There are two ways to tackle the problem - more frequent service at peak hours or coupling a number of tram units together to form an eight or twelve car train.
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