THE future generations commissioner for Wales, Sophie Howe, has called on the Welsh Government to be more ambitious with its investment in transport.

A new report published today by Ms Howe puts forward proposals through which Wales could transform its transport system by investing in public transport, active travel and ensuring delivery of all phases of the South Wales Metro – all within the £1.4bn budget currently earmarked for the M4 Black Route.

“Wales has a choice to make," Ms Howe said. "It must choose whether to spend £1.4 billion on building a 14-mile section of M4 motorway, or to invest in alternative sustainable transport infrastructure that’s fit for future generations, that Wales and the world can be proud of.

“[The] Welsh government’s obsession at addressing 21st-century transport issues with 20th-century solutions must not continue. The Black Route fails to consider future trends and does not reflect the ambition or intention of the Well-being of Future Generations Act.

"The total cost of our package would be approximately £578m, delivering an integrated system of public transport and active travel infrastructure to complement the planned Metro phases two and three, at a fraction of the proposed £1.4bn investment on the Black Route."

Responding to the commissioner's report, a Welsh government spokeswoman said: "A year-long public inquiry has provided the opportunity for everyone, including the commissioner, to be involved in what would be a significant infrastructure investment for Wales.

"We shortly expect to receive the independent inspectors' report which, along with the committed Senedd debate and vote, will inform the final decision making on whether the proposed M4 project, in collaboration with the South Wales Metro, provides the long-term solution to the problems on this gateway to Wales.

“Our commitment to improving public transport across the whole of Wales is clearly visible in the launch [of] our new rail services contract next month, which will deliver significant improvements including more and better trains for passengers across Wales and the Borders, and that from 2023 an £800m investment will ensure 95 per cent of journeys are on new trains.”