Second toll motorway planned

Britain’s second toll motorway will reportedly be given the go ahead with Ministers set to revive a plan to ease congestion on the M4 in South Wales.

Plans for relief road on M4 previously shelved

This map shows the section of the M4 that is frequently congested, and that would be bypassed if plans for a 14-mile relief road went ahead.

Map showing the section of the M4 between junctions 23 and 39 near Newport in South Wales
Map showing the section of the M4 between junctions 23 and 39 near Newport in South Wales Credit: Google Maps

The Welsh government has long pushed for a relief road in this area. Plans were shelved in 2009 after the projected cost of the project rose to £1 billion.

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Wales

Welsh Govt: Talks 'continuing' over borrowing powers

The Welsh Government have refused to comment on reports that the UK Government will soon announce plans to back a new M4 relief road around Newport.

In a statement they said that they "do not comment on speculation."

We have been pressing the UK Government for access to borrowing powers in order to finance infrastructure investment. Those talks are continuing.

Meanwhile, we continue to consider the large volume of responses to our consultation on M4 corridor enhancements from Magor to Castleton.

– Welsh Government spokesperson

Campaigners slam toll plans as 'poor value for money'

Sustrans Cymru - an organisation that promotes greener transport - has condemned the potential M4 Toll as "poor value for money".

A spokesman said that a "more cost effective way to reduce congestion would be to invest in shifting these journeys to public transport."

"The Welsh Government acknowledges that 40% of journeys on this stretch of the M4 are local trips of under 20 miles," he added.

Read: Report: Government to give green light to new toll road

Government plans for M4 toll 'could backfire'

We have seen with the M6 Toll that drivers can be turned off by the imposition of charges. There is already a toll to get into Wales on the Severn Crossing but no toll to get out.

There is no doubt that the M4 around Newport needs improving. At the moment if there is a bad accident and the road is closed there is no real alternative for drivers.

But if the road is tolled it reduced its economic effectiveness as a lot of people will be put off using it and will simply avoid it.

– Edmund King, AA President

AA: Drivers from England to Wales would pay twice

The prospect of a new toll road relieving pressure on the M4 has reportedly been welcomed by motoring groups.

Nick Payne of the Road Haulage Association is quoted in the Times (£) as saying that the road would "make a big difference to traffic in and out of Wales".

A spokesman for the AA, while welcoming a relief road, said that charging a toll on the road would “double the injury” for drivers as many would already have paid £6.20 to cross the Severn Bridge.

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Toll road 'part of multibillion-pound package of upgrades'

The government is reportedly planning to agree to a new toll road on the M4 in South Wales, but this is part of a multibillion-pound scheme of road upgrades in the UK.

According to the Times, the other upgrades include:

  • A1 between Newcastle and Berwick-Upon-Tweed to be converted to a dual carriageway
  • Widening of the A47 in Norfolk
  • A303 to be turned into a continuous dual-carriageway

Report: Government to give green light to new toll road

The government is poised to give consent to a new toll road around a particularly congested stretch of the M4 in South Wales as part of a wider project to upgrade roads, the Times reports (£).

Vehicles approaching Britain's first motorway toll on the M6 in Staffordshire
Vehicles approaching Britain's first motorway toll on the M6 in Staffordshire Credit: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

It will become the second toll road in Britain - following the M6 in Staffordshire - and will run between junctions 23 and 29 of the M4 to relieve congestion on the outskirts of Newport.

The newspaper reports that the Chancellor will agree to guarantee loans for the building of the M4 relief road, but the devolved Welsh government will meet the cost - expected to be around £830 million.

This cost will be recouped at least partly through tolls. While the price of tolls is not known, the longer M6 Toll currently charges £5.50 for a car and £11 for a lorry on weekdays.