Mark Drakeford, the Welsh First Minister, has confirmed that plans to build a relief road for the M4 have been cancelled. The plan would have helped to have alleviated congestion around Newport, but there were concerns about the impact to the environment.
In a statement Drakeford said:
“In my judgement the Project’s adverse impacts on the environment, taken
together with its other disadvantages, outweigh its advantages”.
“I do not consider that there is a compelling case in the public interest to expropriate the land that is subject to the CPOs and I do not consider that it would be appropriate or expedient to make the other Schemes and Orders.”
Ian Rappel, the Chief Executive of Gwent Wildlife Trust, said:
“We are delighted that the Welsh Government and Mr Drakeford have recognised that a new motorway would have been totally ecologically, socially and economically unsustainable for the people and wildlife of Wales. The Gwent Levels is like no other in the UK, it is vitally important to the well-being of not just wildlife but also people – it is green lungs of Newport and South Gwent. It should be cherished and showcased as a green leisure hub for Wales.”
Russell George, the Conservative Welsh Assembly Member for Montgomeryshire said:
“After years of procrastination and dithering from successive Welsh Labour Governments, £44 million spent on a public inquiry, and numerous pleas of help from business leaders, we’ve got nowhere. It’s shameful that the First Minister has poured millions of pounds down the drain in completing the inquiry, yet only to ignore its findings.
Congestion on this road is a foot on the windpipe of the South Wales economy, and is damaging our businesses and their future prospects. I’m now urging the First Minister to end the uncertainty and quickly give us an alternative to how he intends to alleviate congestion on the M4.”