Osborne: No tolls for M4

The Chancellor has confirmed that there be no tolls on any new M4 relief road. George Osborne made the comments on a visit to Cardiff. It follows reports that the UK Government would guarantee borrowing by the Welsh Government to pay for a new road.

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Consultation into traffic easing M4 plans launched in March 2012

In March 2012 the Welsh Government launched a consultation on plans that could ease congestion on the M4 around Newport.

Speaking at the time, Transport Minister Carl Sargeant said the plans would aim to "improve efficiency and productivity and in turn make us more competitive."

The plans included improvements to public transport as well as road improvements including:

  • M4 Relief Road south of Newport over the Gwent Levels
  • Improve A48 Southern Distribution road
  • Widening of M4, adding additional tunnel at Brynglas

The consultation ended in July 2012.


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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
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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
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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.

M4 toll plan is 'poor value for money'

Plans to grant permission to build a new M4 relief road near Newport has been criticised as "poor value for money." Sustrans Cymru, who promote sustrainable travel, say the scheme which is expected to be announced by the Chancellor would cost £830million over 15 years.

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

They argue that the money should be used to encouraging people to walk, cycle and use public transport to ease congestion.

The new M4 relief road is poor value for money – costing taxpayers more than £55 million each year and following the recent announcement of £8 million in cuts to our bus service.

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

– Matt Hemsley, Sustrans Cymru Media and Policy Advisor


Report: Chancellor 'to approve M4 toll plans'

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.

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