Policy Forum for Wales

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Assessing the Wales Transport Strategy - priorities for decarbonisation and wellbeing, modernising infrastructure and connectivity, and achieving social and economic benefits

Morning, Wednesday, 14th October 2020

Online Conference

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will assess the next steps for developing the transport system in Wales.

It will be an opportunity for key stakeholders and policymakers to discuss the next Wales Transport Strategy - drawing together issues following the Welsh Government’s consultation on its scope ahead of the publication of the National Transport Delivery Plan.

The strategy sets out aims for what transport in Wales should look like for the next 25 years, and how it can contribute to the Welsh Government’s aim of creating a greener and more equal and prosperous Wales.

We are pleased to be able to include a keynote contribution from Dewi Rowlands, Head of Transport Planning, Welsh Government.

Areas for discussion include:

  • key priorities of the Wales Transport Strategy and next steps for national transport infrastructure
  • modernising the public transport system in Wales, improving regional connectivity, and empowering local communities
  • next steps for improving health, wellbeing and equality in Wales and delivering the low-carbon transport transition

Of course we expect the COVID-19 pandemic to be a major focus for delegates, with latest thinking on:

  • the impact of the crisis on transport and the services that support it in Wales - as well as those working in the sector, businesses involved in transport, and passengers, road users and active travel
  • what can learned for the future from the way that transport services have adapted, and from the behavioural change that has taken place
  • the degree to which new habits and demands that have come to the forefront during the pandemic may change or become more permanent going forward
  • the measures and support that will be needed to protect passengers and staff, and help the sector recover economically, as services are restored

Why this is relevant now - the context:

  • The Wales Transport Strategy - with consultation by the Welsh Government on how its key priorities can be achieved - including:
    • decarbonisation of transport
    • development of reliable and modern infrastructure
    • supporting economic growth throughout Wales
  • Active travel - with consultation on reforming active travel guidance, seeking views on how cycling and other active modes can be better promoted and supported.
  • The COVID-19 health emergency - with the Welsh Government publishing:
    • a Supplementary Budget, adjusting funding for the pandemic response - including direct financial support to public transport operations, and £40m for maintaining train services
    • guidance for operators on restarting public transport following COVID-19
  • Public investment - with announcements from the Welsh Government of:
  • Buses:
    • the Welsh Government’s Bus Emergency Scheme, to help bus operators suffering loss of income due to the COVID-19 crisis - and support service levels and safety, and avoid fare rises
    • the Putting Passengers First toolkit proposed as part of the Bus Services (Wales) Bill - including new powers to franchise bus routes and control services, innovate ticketing and accessibility for passengers, and facilitate new partnerships between community groups and bus operating companies
  • Health, wellbeing and the environment:

The discussion in detail:

The Wales Transport Strategy - assessing how it’s priorities and long-term vision can be achieved, including:

  • delivering infrastructure upgrades for key parts of the transport network across strategic and local road networks, rail, and active travel
  • investment that will be required, and the contributions of the Welsh Government and elsewhere in the public and private sectors
  • supporting sustainability throughout transport modernisation - improving public transport connectivity and uptake of low-carbon transport, including developing facilities for walking and cycling
  • engaging with local councils, communities and businesses to address local transport capacity deficiencies and develop local transport plans
  • transport system upgrades and the aim of creating a more prosperous Wales - improving connectivity for commerce and business, employment opportunities, and reliability of public services

The National Infrastructure Commission for Wales - examining its key recommendations for the Welsh transport system, including:

  • reducing regional inequalities in transport connectivity and economic development with a network that better connects rural and suburban areas with cities
  • supporting the low-carbon transition by developing infrastructure for enablers, such as electric vehicles and the installation of charging networks
  • alleviating congestion in and around city and major economic centres by expanding bus and rail networks

Active travel - and the consultation on reforming active travel guidance, with discussion on supporting local planners to design appropriate facilities for walking and cycling, cooperate with local stakeholders and designers and engineers, and making maps and travel route information more accessible

Resumption of public transport in Wales in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • priorities for road user, passenger and staff safety, and measures that need to be put in place both in the immediate and long term
  • steps that rail franchises and other transport operators can take to implement social distancing whilst minimising the impact on transport capacity and frequency
  • the financial and operational support for transport providers and others in the sector that will be needed

The public transport system - and ensuring that it remains fit for purpose, looking at:

  • how key areas around accessibility, connectivity, and high capacity - and improvement of passenger experiences - can be prioritised in public transport system design
  • the example of the North Wales Metro and the role of strategic and integrated transport networks in improving intermodal travel and rural and suburban connectivity

Health, equality and wellbeing - how further development of the transport system can support its improvement across Wales, with latest thinking around achieving these goals, including:

  • investment in low-carbon transport solutions and infrastructure, and the opportunities this can present for expanding job opportunities, skills, and healthier commuting
  • steps for improving public health in Wales and addressing poor air quality in suburban and major economic zones
  • working collaboratively to support walking and cycling facilities, transitioning to low-carbon forms of public transport, and protecting the health of communities and the vulnerable

The agenda:

  • A new Wales Transport Strategy to deliver a greener and just transport system in Wales
  • Priorities for decarbonising transportation, creating a resilient network, and contributing to the low-carbon transition and a greener Wales
  • What is needed to achieve key social and economic objectives - widening connectivity, inclusive economic growth, and benefiting communities across Wales
  • Transport infrastructure in Wales - delivering new projects, enhanced connectivity, and local stakeholder engagement
  • Accessible, connected, and high capacity public transport - the future of metro schemes, intermodal travel and expanded passenger options, and restoring services in the wake of COVID-19
  • Joining up transport policy with improving health and wellbeing, and achieving social goals in Wales - air quality, employment opportunities, and addressing regional economic disparities
  • Developing a long-term plan for the Wales transport system, delivering the WTS and implementing the National Transport Delivery Plan

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

This conference is no different. Places have been reserved by officials from the Welsh Government; the Welsh European Funding Office; The Planning Inspectorate for Wales; the Department for Transport; the DWP; DCMS; and the Valuation Office Agency.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Dewi Rowlands

Head of Transport Planning, Welsh Government

Keynote Speakers

Dewi Rowlands

Head of Transport Planning, Welsh Government

Sarah Hopkins

Director, Cynnal Cymru


Councillor Brian Jones

Lead Member for Waste, Transport and the Environment, Denbighshire County Council

Councillor Caro Wild

Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning & Transport, Cardiff Council


Bill Kelly

Managing Director, Wales and Borders, Network Rail

Senior speaker confirmed from WSP

Councillor David A Bithell

Deputy Leader of the Council and Lead Member for Environment & Transport, Wrexham County Borough Council

Professor Mark Barry

Professor of Practice in Connectivity, Cardiff University and Strategic Advisor, Transport for Wales

Mike Payne

Senior Organiser, Wales & South West, GMB

Rupert Lugg

Director, Projects Team, Burges Salmon

Senior speaker confirmed from Sustrans

Joseph Carter

Head of Devolved Nations, Asthma UK and British Lung Foundation Partnership and Chair, Healthy Air Cymru

Professor Karen Morrow

Professor of Environmental Law, Hillary Rodham Clinton School of Law, Swansea University and Founder Member, Global Network on Human Rights and the Environment

Christine Boston

Director for Wales and UK Research & Campaigns, Community Transport Association

Richard Rowland

Customer Service & Operations Director, Great Western Railway