- January 22, 2020
- Posted by: Mick Antoniw AM
- Category: Featured, Latest News
Mick Antoniw, Assembly Member for Pontypridd has called for any congestion charge introduced by Cardiff County Council to be fair to those who commute into Cardiff to work.
In a question to First Minister Mark Drakeford AM, Mick Antoniw stressed that the cost of any congestion charge should not fall disproportionately on the poorest communities; that a proportion of the proceeds are redistributed to help improve transport infrastructure across the Cardiff region and that critically, that an affordable public transport alternative is available.
Mick Antoniw said:
“The impact of road congestion on climate change is well documented and it is absolutely right that local authorities explore ways of reducing emissions, however any congestion charging scheme must have fairness at its heart and not fall on commuters who often live in some of our poorest communities.
“Commuters from Taff Ely and the wider valleys areas are the lifeblood of Cardiff’s economy and contribute significantly to its growth through their work and as a result of the money they spend in the city. I’m calling on Cardiff County Council to ensure that its proposed congestion scheme properly recognises the importance of this work-force and the importance of fairness within any charging system.
“I’m also calling on the Welsh Government to continue its investment in the South Wales Metro, and specifically to progress the proposed Llantrisant to Cardiff Metro line. I have campaigned over many years for this route and this congestion charge proposal means that there is now an even greater urgency to provide an affordable, green public transport alternative to commuting into Cardiff by car.”
Transcript of Mick Antoniw’s question and the he First Minister’s response:
Mick Antoniw AM: First Minister. I’d like to return you briefly to the issue of road congestion and the impact on climate change. I very much welcome the consideration that’s now being given to the issue of congestion and pollution from traffic into Cardiff. Of course, that traffic doesn’t miraculously appear in Cardiff, it goes through constituencies such as mine into Cardiff, and that congestion and pollution is felt all through quite a large number of our constituencies. But, in particular, the solution to congestion and pollution is not just in Cardiff, it lies much further through.
In order to win the support, I think, of the many people in the Pontypridd constituency and further afield, it seems to me that consideration of the whole issue of congestion charging is dependent on a number of principled assurances I think people want. The first one is that the costs do not disproportionately fall on the poorest communities. The second one is that a proportion of the proceeds are redistributed and invested within our broader transport system. And that, thirdly, there is an affordable public transport alternative available.
Mark Drakeford AM, First Minister: I thank Mick Antoniw for those additional points on this matter. Of course, he is right that traffic that flows through his constituency and very often from his constituency into mine and then onwards into Cardiff is generated elsewhere. I just want to recognise what Mick Antoniw said about the need for this to be tackled. The idea that you can simply ignore it and look the other way is simply not an answer to what we face. But the answer that we design has to have the sorts of characteristics that he mentioned.
I said in the answer to my previous question…that the Minister’s letter puts fairness at the heart of the Welsh Government’s response to it, and that redistribution of any sums raised, so that they benefit areas outside Cardiff, is integral to any plan as well. And of course, affordable public transport of the sort that I know the Member has particularly campaigned for, for the reopening of former railway lines that would serve his constituency and provide that sort of affordable public transport, has to be integral to the plan as well. And it is why, in the answer that I provided to Mark Reckless, I read that part of the Minister’s letter to Cardiff Council that places all of those things in that wider context.