Government makes big announcement on future of an M4 relief road

government makes big announcement on future of an m4 relief road - Government makes big announcement on future of an M4 relief road

Plans for a new relief road to help with congestion on the M4 have been axed.

The rising cost of the project, as well as environmental concerns, led Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford to scrap the proposal today (June 4).

The plans were for the road to run south of Newport, around 45 minutes or so from Bristol – which would have likely eased traffic for those travelling from our city into Wales.

However, in his decision letter, the First Minister said that the cost of the project was “was not acceptable,” Wales Online reports.

The plan has been controversial, with commuters and business leaders saying a solution is needed to address the continuing problems on the M4.

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A bridge that would have formed one of the most costly parts of the proposed £1bn M4 relief road (Image: Wales Online)

However, environmental groups and other detractors have argued the road will have devastating environmental effects and impact existing communities.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said the decision marked a “dark day” for the Welsh economy but Friends of the Earth said it was “great news for Wales and the planet”.

When a public inquiry into the scheme began in early 2017, Welsh Government economist Stephen Bussell gave evidence that the project had a benefit-cost ratio of 2.22, with economic benefits of £2.12bn against a cost of £952m.

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government makes big announcement on future of an m4 relief road 3 - Government makes big announcement on future of an M4 relief road

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The cost of the project is now estimated to be well over £1bn.

Explaining his decision, Mark Drakeford said: “In light of the cost of the project, other demands and potential demands on the Welsh Government’s capital budget, and uncertainty as to the financial position of the Welsh Government, the cost of the project, and its consequential impact on other capital investment priorities, was not acceptable.”

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The proposed map for the M4 relief road (Image: Wales Online)

He also said he attached “greater weight than the inspector did to the adverse impacts that the project would have on the environment”.

The Welsh Government will allow a six-week window for its decision to be legally challenged, through an individual or organisation seeking a judicial review.

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