SEWTA STANDS DOWN AFTER 10 YEARS OF SUCCESSFUL REGIONAL COLLABORATION
South East Wales has benefited tremendously from Sewta the alliance of all 10 local authorities to drive forward transport planning and delivery in the region, according to its Chair Councillor Phil White
Addressing the Sewta Board’s Quarterly Meeting in Pontypool on Friday March 28th 2014, Councillor White said that since it was established as a Joint Committee of the local authorities of South East Wales 10 years ago, the South East Wales Transport Alliance has been one of the major success stories of regional working.
“Members have always accepted that a successful South East Wales Region benefits all the authorities within it, and have been able to set aside their local roles and focus on assessing and prioritising schemes, projects and proposals based on their overall benefits to the region,” said Councillor White of Bridgend CBC.
“Using this collaborative approach the Board has been able to provide a strong voice and direction for transport in the region, share skills, knowledge and resources, and work closely with partner organisations. The list of Sewta’s achievements is like reading a “success story” said Councillor White.
Over the years, working closely with the Welsh Government, the Alliance has achieved many notable successes including:
- the Vale of Glamorgan Line reopening 2005
- Llanharan Station reopening 2006
- Ebbw Valley Line reopening 2008
- Energlyn and Churchill Park Station, Caerphilly, opening 2014
- Dinas Powys Merrie Harrier bus priority measures completed in 2010
- Cwmbran Avondale Road / Cwmbran Drive bus priority and roundabout improvements completed in 2012
- A470 corridor – completion of bus priority and junction improvements at Pontypridd Bridge Street/Berw Road, Upper Boat, Nantgarw, Tongwynlais, Cardiff Pantmawr Road – Caedelyn Road and Cardiff Gabalfa – Parkfield Place
- Bridgend Bus Station 2004
- Completion of Porth Interchange in December 2010
- Delivery of enhanced infrastructure for Tredegar Bus Station in 2011
- Completion of phase one of Newport Bus Station (Market Square) in 2013
- Upgrade of Brynmawr Bus Station completed in 2014
- Delivery of regional bus funding to councils and operators 2013/14
Park & ride:
- Cardiff East P+R
- Barry Waterfront
- Rhymney (under construction)
Numerous Active Travel schemes including:
- Blaenavon Kays & Kears / Gilchrist Thomas Industrial Estate
- South Griffin Route to Abertillery and Aberbeeg
- Newport Malpas to Bettws
- Trevithick Trail Connect2 route in Merthyr Tydfil
- Pont-y-Werin connections in Penarth (several elements)
- Newport- Bassaleg to Cleppa Park
- Llynfi Valley
- Rhymney Valley Linear Route
- North Cardiff Community Route Phase 3
- Caerphilly Basin Radial Routes – Senghenydd to Caerphilly
- Treforest to Tonteg Cycle Route
- Pontnewynydd Industrial Estate, Pontypool
- Newport-Chepstow Road, Langstone
Councillor White said the last 10 years had seen many changes:
“The main feature has been the recession, which has and continues to have a dramatic effect on the region, and specifically the ability of local authorities to respond to the region’s needs.
“With significantly reduced funding over the last few years this Committee has worked exceptionally hard to make best use of the limited resources made available. But, with such low levels of investment in transport, it has been impossible to introduce the ‘step-change’ in infrastructure and services needed for the region to succeed.”
“But I’m pleased to say that politicians, professional from all fields, and the general public, have become more aware of the importance that transport plays in enabling economic prosperity and social development.
“This has been demonstrated by the Welsh Government who have included Transport within the same portfolio as Economy, and awarded funding for the development phase of a South East Wales Metro.
“These actions by Welsh Government have also introduced amendments to the regional governance and delivery arrangements for transport, and it is important that this Committee considers these changes and responds accordingly.”
Councillor White said there now appears to be a clear opportunity, and the political will, to put in place structures that reinforce the integration of the regional decision making process across service areas.
“It is important to support this process,” said Councillor White.
“This Committee has always considered the economic, environmental and social implications of its decisions, however, its powers of determination are limited to transport.
“It is therefore appropriate for this Committee to stand down and allow the new regional arrangements being developed to include transport within a much broader range of responsibilities, allowing truly integrated decision making.”
“All of the Member’s on this Committee will have an important and positive role to play in supporting these new regional arrangements.
“While this Committee will cease, their skills, knowledge and advice, related to transport and collaborative working, will be invaluable in ensuring that the new structures and the decisions they make are well informed, measured and maximise regional benefit.”
Councillor White thanked the Sewta partner organisations:
- Bus Users UK
- Passenger Focus
- Confederation of Passenger Transport (representing bus operators)
- Arriva Trains Wales
- First Great Western
- Network Rail