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Support for new motorway tested in Senedd vote

There's no agreement on the best solution to congestion on the M4 around Newport Credit: PA

Conservative AMs will force a vote in the Senedd today on whether there should be a review of the Welsh Government's plan to build a new motorway south of Newport to relieve pressure on the existing M4.

The £1 billion project is highly controversial, both because of its cost and because of the environmental impact on the Gwent Levels wetlands. Some business groups prefer the idea of upgrading the existing Southern Distributor Road to a motorway, arguing that it would be a cheaper and quicker solution.

That's angered residents who live near the distributor road who fear the noise and pollution that might be caused by a motorway. Now the Conservatives' transport spokesman, Byron Davies, says he's not convinced that a full motorway is required and that more modest improvements might be enough to relieve pressure on the M4.

It doesn't have to be a motorway.

– Shadow Transport Minister Byron Davies AM

That's roughly in line with what the Liberal Democrats have been arguing, while Plaid Cymru oppose spending such a major part of the transport budget on just one road scheme.

There's also been opposition from some Labour AMs, including two former ministers. So it would appear that most Assembly Members at least have doubts about the project. The Welsh Government has already conceded that construction work won't get the go-ahead before the 2016 Assembly election.

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Plans for over a thousand homes discussed

Plans for over 1,700 homes at Bodelwyddan in Denbighshire will be discussed today.

Plans for nearly 2,000 homes in Denbighshire will proposed later. Credit: David Davies/PA Archive

The application is an outline proposal for the development of 1,715 dwellings including affordable dwellings, an up to 80 bed care home and 50 close care flats, an up to 100 bedroom hotel, a new primary school and two local centres.

It also includes a new access and a link between A55 Junction 26 and Sarn Road, pedestrian and cycle routes.

Areas of formal and informal open space, green space and structural landscaping and drainage infrastructure are also envisioned.

The planning application was submitted to the Council in December 2013, and a consultation took place between January and March 2014.

Welsh Secretary welcomes rise in start-up loans

The Welsh Secretary has welcomed a 30% increase in the number of people in Wales receiving UK Government money to start their own businesses. The figures show that the Start-Up Loans Company lent almost £4.5 million to 712 entrepreneurs in the last year.

Stephen Crabb welcomed the news:

Since 2010, we have seen 26,000 new businesses Wales. Schemes such as Start up Loans provide budding entrepreneurs across Wales with the tools they need to turn their ideas into living, breathing businesses.

Our long term economic plan is all about supporting small businesses, backing aspiration and encouraging more young people to follow their dreams. I am thrilled to see this happening all across Wales and hope more young people apply to the scheme and get the chance to start their own businesses.

– Stephen Crabb MP, Secretary of State for Wales

Family time at heart of new Visit Wales TV advert

A new television advert will hit our screens today aiming to encourage people from the UK and Ireland to enjoy family time in Wales.

The latest phase of the Visit Wales 'Have You Packed for Wales?' campaign focuses on the family activities on offer here, including adventures at Caernarfon Castle and dolphin-spotting along the Ceredigion Coast.

The latest TV advert by Visit Wales will encourage families to explore Wales. Credit: Visit Wales

The family market is very important to Wales. The Great Britain Tourism Survey tells us than children were present on 40% of holiday trips taken by British residents in Wales in 2013 and expenditure on these holidays was in excess of £350 million.

This campaign will concentrate on the family adventures to be had in Wales. There are plenty of opportunities to try something new for the first time - catching your first fish for a BBQ, soaring through the sky on a zip wire or bouncing on a trampoline in an underground cave, trying out surfing and coasteering for the first time, getting closer to nature and feeding a Red Kite or stepping back in time to visit your first castle.

– Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism

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Cardiff digital company plans to double workforce

Welsh digital marketing agency Liberty Marketing says it plans to double its workforce from 40 to 80 over the next three years.

Credit: libertymarketing.co.uk

Set-up in Cardiff in 2008, the company's turnover was £1.5m for their last financial year. Based in Cardiff Business Park Liberty works with international brands.

During a visit to Liberty The Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb said the company was "a perfect example of a business that is investing, growing and creating jobs in Cardiff."

Cardiff to Dusseldorf service announced

Credit: Flybe

Regional airline Flybe has announced it's adding weekly flights from Cardiff to Dusseldforf to its Summer schedule

The Saturday service will start in April.

This link not only adds to the direct destinations from Cardiff, but brings with it some great potential for inbound tourism into Wales from Germany.

– Spencer Birns, Cardiff Airport Aviation Business Development Director
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