Welsh Government knew about traffic growth forecast changes

The Welsh Government knew that the Department of Transport was introducing revised methodology for forecasting traffic growth well in advance, local Assembly Member Mohammad Asghar said today.


The Cabinet Secretary for Economy & Transport claimed in the National Assembly that the changes were introduced without consultation with the Welsh Government, thereby delaying the start of the Public Inquiry into the M4 relief road.


However, in a letter to Mr Asghar, the Department of Transport say that plans to update the methodology were made public in December 2014.


They went on to say the Welsh Government was provided with a timetable for the changes in early 2016 at a periodic engagement event, with another presentation made three weeks before publication at an event again attended by Welsh Government officials.


The full dataset was published on 28 July 2016.


Mohammad Asghar said:


“It is becoming clear that the Cabinet Secretary’s statement was, at best, misleading and we now know that there was significant engagement between the governments over many months.


“It is deeply regrettable, therefore, that instead of acknowledging responsibility for yet another delay to this project, that the Welsh Government is seeking to lay the blame elsewhere.


“Despite the Cabinet Secretary’s claims, the Welsh Government has had officials involved at every step of the way since the changes were first announced in December 2014.


“Mr Skates should clarify his earlier comments and issue an urgent statement explaining the apparent inconsistencies.”