Agenda item

Regional Transport Plan (RTP) - Presentation


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 these plans, to ensure that the RTP of the South West Wales region included policies and a way forward for the region itself, in terms of the context of delivery those plans; it was an opportunity for South West Wales to put its own stamp on some of the work going forward.

Members were sighted on the typical RTP process, which each region should be going through in order to develop their Plans; there were a number of steps in the production of the Plan. Reference was made to the initial risk assessment rating against each of the steps in the table of work; at this stage the ratings were showing mostly red and amber due to the fact that the work had not yet started on the development of the Plan.

Officers went through the programme of the RTP timeline, which highlighted the key activities and tasks of the whole programme, and when certain pieces of work were due to be completed. It was noted that Officers hadn’t been able to make significant progress as the RTP guidance was yet to be issued. It was mentioned that the start date of this programme of work was February 2023, therefore there was a need to rebase the programme once the guidance had been received.

Following on from the above, Officers displayed the shorter term planning for delivery; which was focused on the production of the implementation plan associated with the RTP.

Officers raised concerns in regards to the increasing demands that Local Authorities were facing; including the 20 MPH default speed limit implementation, the work regarding bus reform and pavement parking, as well as the work relating to the RTP. It was mentioned that there was some degree of apprehension amongst transport colleagues in regards to how all of this work would be tacked; especially in regards to the RTP, as there was currently a lack of clarity from the guidance in terms of how to take the work forward.

The presentation concluded with the suggested priority actions for consideration, which were noted as follows:

-        Seek clarity from Welsh Government on the timeline for the guidance and the programme

-        Confirm the budget for the RTP process and programme

-        Mobilise resources

-        Re confirm the key milestones and align the RTP and metro delivery programme

-        Agree a Committee programme in order for Members to be fully sighted on the work going forward

Members acknowledged the extensive work that needed to be carried out regionally in terms of meeting the asks from Welsh Government; and that it would be fundamental in receiving the final version of the guidance, as it will have an impact on the work going forward. Members queried if the current discussions with Welsh Government alluded to any potential dates of being in receipt of the guidance.

The Transport Official at Welsh Government explained that there was no requirement for Welsh Government to provide guidance, and it was not needed in order to start the work relating to the RTP; however, there was an understanding as to why Local Authorities were seeking clarity from the final version of the guidance. It was confirmed that the guidance would be avaliable within the next few weeks; there will not be any significant changes from the draft that had already been circulated. The Committee was informed that a letter will be accompanying the guidance, setting out the financial support that Welsh Government were intending to provide; this will be £125k for this financial year.

Further to the above, it was mentioned that Welsh Government were encouraging Local Authorities to avoid or minimise the use of external consultants in order to prevent a high spend for this type of work. There was an understanding from Welsh Government that the work needed to be carried out on the RTP will require consultancy work, particularly due to the resource limitations across Local Authorities, however Welsh Government and Transport for Wales will be able to provide some form of support in order to minimise the use of external consultants.

The Committee raised concerns in regards to the budget and resource requirements. It was understood that there was a commitment previously to fully fund any additional duties; Members asked if there were any indications of further discussions within Welsh Government, to fully meet the costs that Local Authorities will expect to face. It was explained that the funding was wrapped up in the wider settlement for Local Authorities and the Corporate Joint Committees, and the funding had to be found from this settlement; the previously mentioned £125k, was supplementary to that funding in order to help start the process of the RTP. It was noted that Welsh Government and Transport for Wales were being asked to provide more support in order to minimise those costs, as it was evident that there were pressures on Local Authorities in the preparation of the plan, which will be followed by the delivery.

A discussion took place in regards to an appropriate time for the next meeting of the Regional Transport Sub Committee, given the update from Welsh Government’s Transport Official; it was agreed that an additional meeting would be arranged for the autumn period. In addition, it was highlighted that Officers had developed a job description and personal specification for a regional job post in order to assist with the development of the Plan, and this would be advertised over the next few weeks.


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