Climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg backs Welsh Government plans to freeze new road-building projects

Greta Thunberg has become a powerful voice against climate change. Credit: PA

Climate change activist Greta Thunberg has backed Welsh Government plans to freeze all future road-building projects in the country.

The Swedish campaigner has become a powerful voice speaking out against climate change, challenging world leaders to take action and addressing the UN in 2018.

The 18-year-old showed her approval of the Welsh Government plans when posting on social media where she quoted a speech by Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters announcing the plans.

As part of the announcement, Waters said new projects will be paused while a review of highway schemes is carried out.

He said: “We need a shift away from spending money on projects that encourage more people to drive and spend more money on maintaining our roads and investing in real alternatives that give people a meaningful choice.”

Transport make up 17% of emissions in Wales Credit: PA

Wales has a target of reaching Net Zero emissions by 2050 with transport currently accounting for 17% of emissions. It is hoped the freeze and focus on alternative travel will help cut these.

A review of road building in Wales is expected to focus on maintaining existing roads.

Greta Thunberg wasn't the only one to welcome the news. Wildlife Trusts Wales said the decision would also be beneficial for wildlife.

Rachel Sharp said: "It is certainly a step in the right direction both for combating climate change and protecting nature in Wales. This freeze on road building shows Welsh Government is serious about reducing emissions, but this must also lead to the right decision for wildlife.

"Lockdown showed us the benefits of reducing car travel, creating quieter, safer lives with cleaner air. We all have to make new choices if we are to tackle the climate and nature crises. Our reliance on cars has to change and many of us are already moving to home working, active travel and public transport, which makes us and our planet healthier."

Natasha Asghar MS warned of the potential economic impact Credit: ITV Wales

But there were warnings on the impact the decision could have on the economy in Wales.

Welsh Conservative Shadow Transport Minister, Natasha Asghar MS said: “At such a delicate economic time, this decision could prove a significant blow for our recovery.  

 “Many roads across Wales are not fit for purpose and have had a damaging impact on our economic fortunes, environment and public safety. Regular traffic jams deter investment and have contributed to Wales having some of the worst air quality in the UK.

 “Ministers seem hell-bent on letting our roads deteriorate and forcing everyone onto public transport, despite major doubts over the ability of the network in Wales to cope after years of poor management and under-investment by Labour.

 “Welsh workers and businesses urgently require more information about the scope of the review and the Welsh Labour Government’s long-term intentions for our transport infrastructure.”

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