newport M4

The industry's leading trade associations have slammed the Welsh government’s decision to ditch plans for a £1.4m M4 relief road, announced today (4 June).

The scheme would have seen a new 14-mile stretch of motorway built, parallel to the existing M4 motorway between J23A at Magor to junction 29 at Castleton, to help ease congestion into South Wales around Newport.

However Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford said the cost of the project to the government, alongside its environmental impact, meant the plans had been shelved.

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The FTA blasted the decision and said it would cost the Welsh economy hundreds of millions of pounds in lost investment.

It added it was frustrated that plans for the new route to tackle road congestion “that blights the lives of citizens and businesses alike on both sides of the Welsh border, has been rejected” and has urged the first minister to reconsider.

Sally Gilson, head of Welsh policy at FTA, said: “The M4 is a vital stretch of infrastructure with international economic importance, yet it is blighted by heavy congestion.

"FTA’s members have consistently evidenced the urgent need to tackle these congestion issues; it is frustrating that the opportunity to deliver this essential investment into South Wales’ infrastructure has been missed.”

She added: “The first minister’s decision will cost the Welsh economy hundreds of millions of pounds in lost private sector investment; as per the Welsh Government’s own assessment, it would have delivered £2 for every £1 invested.

"By improving the air quality around the Brynglas tunnels and tackling the road congestion through Newport, it would have also benefited local citizens,” Gilson said.

The RHA said the decision will “dash the hopes of firms expecting improvements to a creaking road network after years of promises”.

RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett said that a thriving Welsh economy needs a fit-for-purpose M4 to attract new investment and spark further growth. “Firms frustrated with crippling congestion on the M4 will feel they’ve been let down by the Welsh Government.

“South Wales needs high-capacity, high-quality road infrastructure to keep people and goods moving efficiently. But scrapping the relief road without a clear alternative to reduce congestion will only make Wales less attractive to investors,” he said.

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