Agenda and draft minutes

South West Wales Corporate Joint Committee - Regional Transport Sub-Committee - Monday, 10th July, 2023 2.00 pm

Venue: Via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Chloe Plowman - Email: c.plowman@npt.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome and Chairs Announcements

Minutes:

The Chairperson welcomed everyone to the meeting.

2.

Declarations of Interests

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interests received.

3.

Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 436 KB

Minutes:

The Committee were presented with the Terms of Reference of the Regional Transport Sub Committee of the South West Wales Corporate Joint Committee.

It was explained that the document set out the overarching aims of the Sub Committee, which were to drive an accessible, sustainable and efficient transport system across the region; it also set out relevant information in regards to the objectives, functions, and attendees of the Sub Committee.

Officers highlighted the importance of quorum, and that an elected representative from each of the Constituent Councils would be necessary in order for the meetings to take place.

A discussion took place in regards to the frequency of meetings; the Terms of Reference set out that the Sub Committee would meet every quarter. It was noted that currently there were only two scheduled meetings of the Sub Committee; however, it would be necessary, as work progressed, to find suitable dates for additional meetings.

RESOLVED:

That Members note the terms of reference of the Regional Transport Planning Sub-Committee

 

4.

Regional Transport Plan (RTP) - Presentation pdf icon PDF 662 KB

Minutes:

Members received a presentation in regards to the ongoing work relating to the Regional Transport Plan (RTP).

In terms of the policy drivers for the new RTP, Officers highlighted that there was a step change in strategy; this change would result in much more emphasis on moving away from private motor vehicle, and instead shifting the focus on public transport.

It was stated that there were a number of enablers in terms of how the region would move forward with the RTP. One of the enablers was noted to be the Regional Transport Planning Guidance, which Officers were still awaiting the final version of from Welsh Government. Members were informed that there would be a statement of funds made avaliable to produce the various Regional Transport Plans for each region, and assist the work on the Metros, which would then feed into the National Transport Plan for Wales. 

The next part of the presentation set out the position of South West Wales and what the region had so far adopted, in terms of the regional policy content; this will inform the work of the RTP going forward. It was noted that the context included a lot of emphasis on improving access within and beyond the region; as well as linking in with the work going on in Swansea Bay and South West Wales.

Officers highlighted that the RTP would have to take into account a number of regional interdependencies; such as the Economic Development Plan, Energy Plan and the City Deal.

Members were informed of the transport responsibilities across Wales and the UK; the presentation displayed the various different responsibilities and which organisation was responsible for what elements. It was evident that Local Authorities had a significant role in taking this work forward, in terms of the development of the RTP and ensuring that there was a regional angle to the planning moving forward.

Information was provided in regards to what needed to be achieved and delivered, following the last Joint Local Transport Plan; the RTP itself needed to achieve outcomes and deliverables, making a difference to the lives of the communities. It was noted that there were a number of outcomes from the Joint Local Transport Plan, which demonstrated that delivery of plans could be achieved for the region. Members were informed that this would be the aspiration of the RTP; to set out and frame work in a strategic context, but develop and deliver action.

It was explained that the purpose behind the RTP emanated from the Llwybr Newydd: The Wales Transport Strategy 2021; which set out the priorities and ambitions for transport in Wales. In addition to this, the National Transport Delivery Plan (NTDP) provided details of the programmes, projects and new policies that Welsh Government intended to deliver over the next five years. The presentation highlighted that the NTDP will, alongside RTPs, tailor delivery of the Wales Transport Strategy to the needs of every part of Wales. Officers confirmed that they will be working through  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Transport for Wales (TFW) Regional Priorities Overview - Rail and Bus Services - Presentation pdf icon PDF 5 MB

Minutes:

Transport for Wales provided a presentation which outlined their work on the Swansea Bay and West Wales Metro; this included the rail programme and the bus programme. The Committee was also informed of how Transport for Wales colleagues could support Local Authorities in their strategic transport planning, and the resources that could be utilised within Transport for Wales to support the delivery of the regional work.

Rail Programme

The presentation displayed how the South West Wales area was segmented in terms of the rail programme, and captured the course of the South Wales Main Line, which ran through West Wales and Swansea Bay. Members were informed of the interchange improvements that Transport for Wales had been working on; the relevant stations were clearly highlighted within the presentation. It was explained that the focus for the West Wales area was identifying how rail frequency/service frequency could be increased; and the focus for the Swansea Bay area was on the urban metro intervention, and making use of rail infrastructure that presently wasn’t used for passenger rail services.

A discussion took place in regards to the rail priorities for West Wales, which included a summary of the route options and frequency. The presentation displayed a summary of the current frequency of rail service at each of the principle stations. It was noted that the annual trips for each principle station was calculated, which provided an understanding of the general demand; it was mentioned that the presentation did not include all stations for the West Wales area, however it provided a general picture of the current route options.

Transport for Wales explained that over a number of years, they had been working on business cases to establish new frequencies; each of these could be identified in the presentation, and were captured in a key of ‘additional service summary’. It was stated that if all of the additional route options could be assembled, the frequencies would improve; the proposed service increase was detailed for each of the stations. Members were informed that this would double the rail frequency across the network. It was mentioned that the Grand Union Trains secured rights to run trains through to Carmarthenshire, and this would be additional to the routes that were displayed within the presentation.

The Committee were provided with a summary of the three principle route options Transport for Wales had been looking at in the Swansea Bay area:

·       Tram-Train Swansea to Aberdulais and/or Clydach (red line) – this was noted to be a very complex endeavour, as the line would be weaved through a densely built up urban area in Swansea; however, it had proved to be resilient during the discussions around the development as it would be a huge area of growth and generate a lot more trips, particularly due to the positioning of the Swansea Bay University Campus. It was added that Transport for Wales had continued to work on this route option, and would consult with Members at pertinent points in the development of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Verbal Update from Botanical Gardens Transport Workshop

Minutes:

The South West Wales Corporate Joint Committee were provided with a verbal update from the Botanical Gardens Transport Workshop.

It was noted that the purpose of the workshop was to formalise discussions between the four constituent Councils in regards to the Regional Transport Plan; the workshop provided as a platform to express views and opinions, and determine how the Councils combine a single vision for the region. It was added that the work surrounding the Regional Transport Plan had to work for the four County Boroughs in order for it to be meaningful.

Officers explained that the discussions centred around the relative rail investment priorities; there were seven total areas of investment, six were in Swansea and one was in Neath Port Talbot. It was added that the workshop also focused on the increased frequency of some of the trains towards the West; colleagues in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire were seeking a collective Corporate Joint Committee commitment and prioritisation for improving journey times to the West.

Following on from the above, it was noted that this could be achieved by pushing for some decupling; the discussions around this brought up the options of potentially the decupling of carriages and trains splitting at Port Talbot Parkway, which would allow onward train movements direct to West Wales to Carmarthen, Haverfordwest and Milford Haven. Although it was recognised that Grand Union trains that will be providing more services to West Wales from 2025, it was expressed that Members at the meeting felt that it would be important to support and collectively push for the metro, as well as the West Wales services.

It was explained that towards the end of that workshop, feedback was provided to Transport for Wales colleagues. Officers were going to identify if there could be an additional priority area for investment on the main line service; this needed to be followed up with colleagues at Transport for Wales, to see if it was possible to model some further actions around whether Pathways could be obtained through to West Wales. It was noted that all Leaders were supportive in that respect.

Those who attended the workshop also discussed the recognition around political advocacy, and promoting and securing national investment; there was a need for the South West Wales Corporate Joint Committee to push for collective influence and lobbying of Welsh Government, the Wales Officer and Department for Transport. It was also mentioned that it would be important to leverage in the Freeport status and the regional sustainable energy development, particularly as highlighted in Pembrokeshire.

The Members of the Regional Transport Sub Committee suggested that it would be beneficial for the South West Wales Corporate Joint Committee to receive the summary of discussions and the resolutions from the Workshop. Through the Chair of the Regional Transport Sub Committee, it was agreed that a letter be written on behalf of all Members of the Sub Committee, to request that the South West Wales Corporate Joint Committee consider and note the Workshop resolutions.

 

7.

Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 510 KB

Minutes:

Members were provided with the Forward Work Programme for the Regional Transport Sub Committee.

Reference was made to the need for an additional meeting for the autumn period. Democratic Services would arrange this in liaise with the Transport Leads for the Region. 

The Forward Work Programme was noted.

 

8.

Urgent Items

Any urgent items at the discretion of the Chairperson pursuant to

Section 100BA(6)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as

amended).

Minutes:

There were no urgent items received.