Launch of our 4th Challenge: How could people and places be connected across Wales by 2035? 

Connecting people and places is vital for people’s health, wellbeing, and social relationships; to enable learning and employment; to enrich Welsh culture; and support the economy. 

Eurgain Powell, Principal in Sustainable Development and Health with Public Health Wales and member of the Challenge Group said “The way we all connect and move around has an impact on our health and our environment. Our lives are now shaped by cars, and they now dominate our roads leading to increased air pollution, social isolation, sedentary lifestyles, biodiversity loss and climate change. We have a huge opportunity to change this and create opportunities for people to connect in ways that are better for our health, communities and our planet.”   

Lorraine Whitmarsh, Professor of Environmental Psychology at the University of Bath and member of the Challenge Group said “Reaching net zero emissions in mobility by 2035 requires radically rethinking how we connect with people and places – where there may be opportunities to replace physical travel with digital connectivity, as well as travelling by sustainable modes and using green vehicle technologies. We want to learn from successful initiatives both here in Wales and elsewhere in the world to explore how we can rapidly and sustainably cut emissions from mobility.” 

Our draft vision  

Through initial dialogue, we have produced a draft vision to illustrate our direction of travel and inspire thoughts on how could people and places be connected across Wales by 2035, towards achieving net zero and the ambitions of the Well-being of Future Generations Act: 

By 2035 we have sustainable, net zero, accessible, affordable and efficient connectivity and mobility (digital and transport) for all people and places across Wales that helps deliver a fairer, healthier, greener and more prosperous nation.  

This means we will: 

  • respond to the diverse needs of groups and businesses across both rural and urban Wales, and focus on: 
  • (a) reducing the need for movement of people and goods; 
  • (b) shifting movement to more sustainable forms of transport* where possible; 
  • (c) improving the efficiency of movement in terms of reducing and removing tailpipe emissions from vehicles 
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero, protect and increase biodiversity, improve air quality, enhance ecosystem and infrastructure resilience, and reduce waste; 
  • make places that are better for living and working, that contribute to a healthier population in Wales and reduce social isolation; 
  • ensure everyone can access and has confidence to travel in a way that is safe, reliable, and affordable, contributing to a more equal Wales; 
  • contribute to Welsh economic prosperity to support the well-being of the nation through local sustainable supply chains, optimising movement of goods, access to employment and services, as well as developing and implementing the latest innovations; 
  • support the Welsh language and culture, and protect and enhance the historic environment. 

We want to learn from best practice around the world and from the lived experience of Welsh citizens, responsibly drawing upon and supporting new technologies and practices, building political will and supporting ambitions of the public by advocating for radical progress that may in some cases fall outside the remit of Welsh Government. 

*active, public, shared, and multi-modal 

Our request for your evidence and views 

Help us identify a pathway forward for Wales toward net zero mobility, that is fairer, more resilient and cleaner by 2035 or sooner. 

In seeking submissions for this challenge, we recognise both the existing strategy of Welsh Government, including Llwybr Newydd (2021)1, the new Wales Transport Strategy. We also recognise that some aspects of transport are devolved to Welsh Government, but others remain the responsibility of the UK Government2

With that in mind, we would note that we are also considering the role of both shipping and aviation in Wales within our scope. 

The Group welcomes the submission of relevant views, case-studies and evidence, which can be submitted via the Group’s website:

Please note that the Challenge Group is looking for evidence of what can be done by 2035 and what would need to be in place for that to happen. This call for evidence will be open from 12th October 2023 – 30th November 2023. 

The Group will invite further feedback on its draft conclusions prior to presenting its report to the Welsh Government and Plaid Cymru in the summer of 2024. More details will be provided to respondents in due course.