North Wales MS Mark Isherwood has raised concerns over the planned ‘Red Route’ road scheme in Flintshire with the Transport Minister today, and questioned him over planned community and stakeholder engagement.
The proposed 'Red Route' highway project is a 13km dual carriageway in Flintshire that would link the A55 at Northop with the A494 and A550 north of Deeside Parkway Junction.
It has received much objection locally, with campaigners concerned it will destroy wildlife habitats, meadows and woodlands.
Since the route was first proposed, Mr Isherwood has repeatedly highlighted constituents’ concerns with the Welsh Government, and called on them to consider alternatives.
Questioning the Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates MS, during today’s meeting of the Welsh Parliament, he reiterated these concerns and asked the Minister to outline his plans for engaging with stakeholders and the local community.
“A number of times over recent years I have raised with you constituents' concerns regarding the proposed “Red Route” to the A55 at Northop, highlighting issues including environmental impact on habitats, meadows and ancient woodland. You have also received extensive representation regarding this in support of the open letter from North Wales Wildlife Trust sent to you and the First Minister, asking you to drop the proposals, and heard the call by the Petitions Committee for the scheme to be halted until changes in traffic flow due to changes in commuting patterns are considered.
“In October, you wrote that you see the investment in this scheme ‘as an essential part of the wider work to improve the transport infrastructure across North Wales’. What, therefore, community and stakeholder engagement are you now planning regarding this, delayed by COVID, and why have you dismissed other suggested alternative solutions to easing congestion on the A55, A494 and A548 Deeside corridor?”
In his response the Minister said public information events, due to be held in the Spring of this year, had to be postponed because of Covid, but that all interested parties are “updated regularly”.
In terms of the alternative suggestions that have been raised, the Minister said “we've looked into every alternative suggestion that has been raised with us - some quite enormous alternative schemes, others smaller schemes designed to address pinchpoints. But this route was determined to be the most suitable for the challenge that we face in that particular area of Wales”.