The Future of Driving in Pembrokeshire


Pembrokeshire drivers are sometimes aggrieved by the fact that getting out of West Wales takes at least a couple of hours, and living outside town means that, at present, a car is needed. But no technological change is more certain than in the area of transport.

Quicker access means, of course, that weekend visits from the city to Pembrokeshire would also be possible. One driverless future group says that “electric pods” will cut carbon emissions if recharged without using fossil fuels. They will definitely reduce the horrendous death toll of five people per day on British roads. 

Pembrokeshire is not a wealthy county in economic terms, and some rural people have limited access to transport at present. The AA estimates the cost of running a petrol car (that was up to £14,000 to buy) as £2,400 a year just for taxes, insurance, depreciation, and breakdown cover. Putting fuel in and actually going somewhere will cost more again, roughly 12.9p a mile on average. The poorest 20% of single adults spend £16.30 a week on transport, says the Family Spending Survey.

One speculative view of the future sees that situation changing. These electric pod things will be ready for anyone to summon by mobile phone, and their usage costs could be modest. Everything points to more traffic on the roads, but computer-controlled nose-to-tail convoys could use existing infrastructure more efficiently. However, traffic increases which require closely spaced vehicles would wear roads out quickly, requiring frequent roadworks and a slowing of traffic. Your satellite-guided pod might still have to wait for the stop-go man.  

If pod cars are to work efficiently, they should be on the road as much as possible. Huge areas of tarmac now given over to parking could be reduced in extent. If towns were made greener and more attractive, instead of having so many stark black parking areas, then the need to get away would be lessened. Reducing the need to travel has been a planning policy for years, resulting in the siting of industrial zones such as Withybush close to Haverfordwest.    

While we wait for the technology to be sorted, we will be driving ourselves around in increasingly sophisticated electric vehicles. There is already an electric charging point in Haverfordwest multistorey car park, and more should be available soon. A spokesperson for the council said: “Pembrokeshire County Council has applied for a grant from OLEV (the Office for Low Emission Vehicles) and the Welsh Government to increase the number of electric vehicle charging points in Pembrokeshire.

“The application seeks funding for 22 fast electric vehicle charging points, situated at 11 town-centre parking locations around the county.”

The actual future of transportation is still open to speculation and debate, but for environmental and safety reasons there will need to be rapid changes made to the ways in which we get about. A much better solution would be to accept the new reality, improve our home areas and stay put.    

Alan Martin

Alan Martin is a Pembrokeshire native who has worked in several UK locations as an engineering inspector. He now lives on a smallholding in mid-county with his wife and son.

Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says " has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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