This is a composite response from the four Welsh Police Forces that responded to the consultation on theNational Assembly for Wales’ Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee inquiry into the State of Roads in Wales.

                                

 To assist with our inquiry, the Committee would welcome your views on any or all of the following points:

 

1.0 The current condition of roads in Wales and whether the approach to funding and delivery of maintenance programmes for the local road, trunk road and motorway network in Wales is effective, managed so as to minimise disruption to road users, and provides value for money.

1.1 This submission is prepared on behalf of the Chief Constables of the four Police Forces within Wales and includes both general and regional commentary. It does not represent the views of the Police and Crime Commissioners as they have been invited comment as a spate submission. All forces appeared to be of the belief that the general state and condition of roads appear to be in decline and made reference to potholes, markings and surfacing. Anecdotal evidence suggests an increase in repairs to fleet vehicles with causation linked to pot holing and road surfacing. The following points were also highlighted;

·          Differences noted in how repairs are targeted in different counties; some being more proactive than others.

·         Minimising disruption for road repairs needs addressing in mid and west Wales.

·         Trunk roads appear to be repaired within a reasonable timeframe

·         Increase in traffic volumes and deterioration of road surfaces is a concern.

·         Concern for vulnerable road users (e.g. cyclists) using roads with defects.

·         Increase in congestion on the M4 through south to west Wales, increased wear and tear to the road surface, needs serious consideration on how road repairs/resurfacing are carried out and when.

·         There is good evidence of high volume trunk road / motorway works implementing procedures such as night-time working and seasonal weekend working embargoes in order to minimise disruption.

·         There is some concern that frequent minor pot hole repairs and similar works add to overall annual delays and disruption and that longer, less frequent but more substantial fixes would reduce overall disruption timelines. There is a perception that the solutions implemented relate to cost.

·         There is good evidence of engagement and innovation in relation to the resilience of the North Wales trunk road network, particularly the A55.

·         There are concerns that the proposed removal of tolls on the M4 will lead to an increase in congestion in the Gwent and South Wales police force areas and impact upon service delivery as the tolls currently provide a degree of buffering to traffic flow.

·         Planned and proposed works should consider the wider impact on emergency services who frequently transit long sections and operate across several counties and congestion mitigation if considered is often very localised and focussed on a small radii. 

·         There should be clear evidence of partner engagement (primarily police) and use of collision data and associated road safety data in the funding and delivery of maintenance programmes at the planning stages. Currently there appears to be no formalisation or consistency of this approach pan Wales. There is a perception that the more vocal a representative or community is then this has a disproportionate influence particularly at county level.

·         All four forces are able to provide site specific issues in relation to the condition of motorway, trunk and county roads.

2.0 Whether major enhancement projects on the local road, trunk road and motorway network are prioritised, funded, planned and delivered effectively, and provide value for money. Relevant issues include the implementation of the Early Contractor Involvement approach and the opportunities offered by the Welsh Government’s Mutual Investment Model

·         There should be clear evidence of partner engagement (primarily police) and use of collision data and associated road safety data in the funding and delivery of maintenance programmes at the planning stages. Currently there appears to be no formalisation or consistency of this approach pan Wales. There is a perception that the more vocal a representative or community is then this has a disproportionate influence particularly at county level.

 

3.0 Whether Wales is adopting a sustainable approach to the maintenance and enhancement of its road network in the context of key legislation such as the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013.

3.1 The principles and intentions of the acts are noted. At the risk of being over simplistic a well planned (to include future proofing) and maintained road network is viewed as being essential in any approach to delivery. The road network of all classifications is part of the essential infrastructure required.