Halcrow worked with the Welsh Assembly Government and the Wales Freight Group to develop the Wales Freight Strategy, a ‘daughter’ document to the statutory ‘One Wales: Connecting the Nation’ (the Wales Transport Strategy), which sets out the Welsh Assembly Government’s policies relating to freight transport.
The Transport (Wales) Act 2006 was a watershed for transport in Wales, putting a ‘general transport duty’ on the Welsh Assembly Government. In the first instance, ‘One Wales: Connecting the nation’ set out the Assembly’s policies in respect of this new duty, but as this strategy was being developed there was a growing recognition of the importance of freight transport to Wales. A separate Wales Freight Strategy was identified as the best way of ensuring that freight transport issues are sufficiently considered in the future. The policies of both the ‘One Wales: Connecting the nation’ and Wales Freight Strategy were subsequently enshrined in the National Transport Plan, which set out in detail how the strategy is to be delivered.
Project challenges and goals
The Wales Freight Strategy itself is designed to:
- Provide Regional Transport Consortia in Wales with freight-related guidance in the production of Regional Transport Plans;
- Support Welsh industry and commerce by provision of a reliable and cost efficient network for raw materials, manufactured and consumer goods;
- Anticipate and respond to fundamental changes in the supply-chain and markets;
- Identify weaknesses and constraints in the existing freight network which may impact negatively on the Welsh economy;
- Integrate and maximise use of existing freight infrastructure using all transport modes to the benefit of the environment and economy; and
- Identify and promote factors supporting sustainable distribution systems.
The key challenge for Halcrow was to bring together stakeholders to develop a strategy that met these aims.
Halcrow provided support for the Welsh Assembly Government and the Wales Freight Group throughout the gestation of the strategy, building on our previous role supporting the Assembly Government in developing ‘One Wales: Connecting the nation’ (the Wales Transport Strategy) for consultation.
We were instrumental in the first instance in launching the Wales Freight Group, which provided a key learned resource for developing an informed, collaborative and relevant strategy which was supported from the outset by those it could affect the most. The Group comprises transport planners, providers and users of freight services across all modes of freight transport, and includes key stakeholders such as the Regional Transport Consortia in Wales, Freight Transport Association, Road Haulage Association, Rail Freight Group, port and shipping operators, representatives from Cardiff-Wales airport and Skills for Logistics (the Sector Skills Council for the freight industry).