Billion pound investment to help ease congestion in Wales
Recently the Welsh Transport Minister, Edwina Hart has confirmed that a relief road will be constructed in order to free up congestion on the M4 near the area of Newport. This new project is said to cost around £1 billion and the new stretch of road is anticipated to run between junctions 23 and 29. It will also include a newly designed bridge and it is hoped to be fully completed by spring 2022.
Announced by the Welsh Government, this project is said to be the largest investment program in the area and many supporters speak in favour of the development. It is hoped to ease traffic in South Wales which will help with the congestion and it could also create many new job opportunities.
Multiple routes have been under consideration however, Mrs Hart explained the following on Wednesday; “none of the alternative solutions proposed could reasonably deliver the objectives."
Despite all of the positives towards this project, there are many in opposition who have proceeded to criticise the idea. The critics state that the project may have an environmental impact along with being labelled a “billion pound mistake”.
Environmental organisations along with multiple business formations have criticised the suggested route and labelled it as unnecessarily damaging and extremely cost worthy. Cymru, Friends of the Earth stated that the six-lane motorway could possibly ‘plough through part of one of Wales’ most protected and environmentally sensitive landscapes” - being the Gwent Levels.
Gareth Clubb, the Director stated;
“This vastly expensive, utterly unnecessary and terribly damaging motorway is the worst possible transport choice for South East Wales. This Welsh Government seems stuck in a past age of concreting over our beautiful countryside and committing our economy to a fossil fuel future we won't be able to afford”.
As with any big decision, this brought varied reactions from the business side with CBI Wales welcoming the idea with open arms but transport group, Sustrans Cymru have said that the move may well have been a “wrong turn” when there is extensive need for further public transport.
Emma Watkins, director of CBI Wales backed her company up by stating that they had offered an alternative of the preferred route, which is known as the black route. She went on to say;
“The M4 around Newport is simply not fit for the 21st Century. That stretch of motorway is Wales' main economic artery, it is already congested and is predicted to get worse, I agree with the prime minister when he said it was a 'foot on the windpipe of the Welsh economy”.
Conversely, Lestyn Davies a spokesman from FSB Wales said; “It is deeply disappointing that the minister has turned her back on the blue route proposed, a scheme which could provide an effective solution to the current problems on the M4 a full decade earlier than the scheme she is progressing and for around £600 million less”.
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