Drivers urged to use public transport ahead of Nato summit

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Media captionAssistant Chief Constable Chris Armitt said disruption as the security cordon was being built was inevitable

People are being urged to use public transport to get into Cardiff city centre after complaints security ahead of the Newport Nato summit is causing "absolute chaos".

Some 12 miles (20km) of fencing is being erected in Cardiff and Newport for the summit on 4 and 5 September.

It protects key routes into venues where the world leaders will be hosted, including Cardiff Castle.

Bus lanes have been closed and drivers directed to long diversions.

Taxi drivers told BBC Wales the closures were causing "absolute chaos" and lengthening journey times.

One said the road closures should have been put in place two or three days before the summit began at the Celtic Manor, rather than two weeks, and said it was a "nightmare".

Image copyright Cardiff council
Image caption Cardiff council's suggested route to avoid disruption while the security is in place

'Unique requirements'

Another driver said a passenger he picked up at the central station and took to Llanishen had to pay double the normal £12 fare because of the delays.

After complaints on Twitter from road users of a "traffic nightmare" Cardiff council appealed for people to use public transport and park and rides.

It also provided a map showing a suggested route for those wanting to avoid congestion.

A spokesman added: "The fence line is driven by the unique security requirements and as such isn't determined by the council.

"Since the fence line started to be put up on the highway on Friday evening, a traffic plan was scheduled with signage to show drivers the diversion routes available.

"To avoid congestion, we advise all those who usually travel by car into the city to consider public transport or use the park and ride facility at either Leckwith or Pentwyn.

"Those who chose to travel by car are asked to allow extra time for their journey."

Image caption The security fencing in Cardiff is already causing delays over two weeks before the Nato summit
Image copyright Sarah Nicholas
Image caption Pedestrians have to go through access points, like this one in Cathays Park
Image caption Fencing in Bute Park, which borders the castle and the music and drama college, two of the summit venues

'Short-term pain'

Gerald Morgan, who owns a courier business based in Cardiff Bay, said a journey from Pontypridd which usually took 35 minutes had taken more than double the usual time because of traffic delays.

He said: "My journeys are going to increase; my costs are going to increase as well and the time taken to get that job through is going to take a lot longer than normal."

Heath councillor Graham Hinchey said the UK government was paying for and hosting the summit, and local authorities were not the ones imposing the restrictions.

"We've got it coming whether we like it or not. It's short-term pain for long-term gain," said Mr Hinchey. "We have got to try and make the best of having the summit.

Image caption Drivers vented their frustrations on social media site Twitter

"We are used to big events in Cardiff. This is a major event for the UK.

"There are alternatives in place and we have done our very best to try and put the alternative routes around the central cordon area."

Longer term impact

Some city employers like Cardiff University and insurance company Admiral which employs 2,500 people have anticipated the travel difficulties the security arrangements would mean.

An Admiral spokesperson said they were trying to be as flexible as they could with staff who operate different shift patterns during the day.

FSB Wales spokesman Rhodri Evans said: "Given the huge security around the NATO summit being held next month there is inevitably going to be disruption in the short term.

"It is of course essential that such disruption is kept to a minimum so that there is as little impact on businesses in South Wales as possible."

Image caption Many miles of security fencing has gone up in Cardiff, three weeks before the summit starts

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