Council throws support behind M4 relief road plan

Council members in Newport have shown their support behind an M4 relief road.

At a full council meeting held tonight, councillors backed an amendment proposed by the leader of the council, Cllr Debbie Wilcox.

The motion passed reads: “This council accepts the current public inquiry as the legitimate forum for investigating outstanding issues regarding the proposals for an M4 relief road.

“Council has previously expressed support for the M4 relief road as a way of easing traffic congestion in and around Newport and trusts that the public inquiry will reach a balanced conclusion taking into account transport, environmental, public and business concerns in Newport and South East Wales.

“Council calls on the Welsh Government to make a decision on the project and its funding as soon as possible after the current process is concluded.”

Cllr Wilcox said that the M4 is a “critical” road to the Welsh economy, transporting goods and people and serving tourism in Wales.

She said: “The M4 does not meet modern motorway standards.

“It has a volume of cars greater than it was designed for.”

The leader of the council said a public inquiry is still ongoing, and that is where the focus of the motion should be on.

Cllr Wilcox’s amendment came after the leader of the city’s Conservative group, Cllr Matthew Evans, and Langstone ward member Cllr William Routley jointly presented a motion calling on members to officially support the so-called ‘black route’.

Cllr Evans said: “There has been a general consensus across the political divide in this council chamber for as long as I can remember for an M4 relief road.

“There isn’t a week that goes by without reports of accidents and severe delays on the M4, which then impacts on the road networks across the city.”

Cllr Evans said that figures show that, on the M4 stretch between Caldicot and Carmarthenshire, there were 10,809 traffic jams on the past 12 months.

“That is an average of 30 every single day,” he added.

Cllr Evans said pollution levels caused by slow moving traffic is a “real health issue” and that if the relief road goes ahead there would be improvements.

“In just over a year’s time the Severn Bridge tolls will be scrapped, making the situation even more urgent,” he continued. “We have had enough of delays and false dawns.

“It is time to get a move on and, hopefully with the support of this chamber, the Welsh Government will finally get the diggers out.”