Economy Minister Edwina Hart has told AMs that there was no realistic alternative to building a complete new motorway south of Newport. In particular she rejected the idea that upgrading the existing Southern Distributor Road would do the job.
The Minister set out a timetable for the construction of the new road.
- Public Inquiry in winter 2016
- Start work in spring 2018
- Open new motorway autumn 2021
Wales enjoyed a bumper year for tourism in 2013, a survey has revealed.
Half a million more visitors from Britain alone crossed the border compared to 2012, with an eight per cent rise in overnight stays.
Visitors spent £1.4 billion, with Wales' tourism sector seeing some of the strongest increases in Britain.
Wales saw a marked increase in tourism in 2013, according to figures released today.
The Great Britain Tourism Survey has revealed British residents made more than eight million visits to Wales in the first nine months of 2013 - up 7.8% compared to the same period in 2012.
Last year's tourism figures are also 5.4% higher than in 2011, which was considered an excellent season for tourism in Wales.
The Economy Minister, Edwina Hart, will announce the results for Wales in the Great Britain Tourism Survey later today. It's expected to show the sector is performing well.
In 2011 over 800,000 people from overseas visited Wales, spending more than £300m here.
A new innovation strategy aimed at promoting more flexibility in business and the public sector has been unveiled by the Welsh Government.
Innovation Wales says the public sector needs to be "less prescriptive and more open to fresh solutions."
The strategy recommends that businesses in Wales concentrate efforts on five main themes:
- improving collaboration
- promoting a culture of innovation
- providing flexible support and finance for innovation
- innovation in government
- prioritising and creating critical mass.
Work on the completing the ring road round Cardiff -the A4232- will start before the next Assembly election in 2016, the Economy and Transport Minister has pledged. The western half of the road was built in the 1980s and 1990s but there's been no further progress since devolution in 1999.
That's despite the road currently stopping in Cardiff Bay, less than a mile from the Senedd. Edwina Hart says she will now 'progress' the missing Eastern Bay Link. She says the project is connected to the promised deal with the UK Government on a new M4 south of Newport.
The Five Mile Lane improvements -between Barry and the A48- raise the prospect of another half built route for M4 traffic. The Minister also stressed that work on dualling the Heads of the Valleys Road will continue. Work will also start on several smaller road schemes during the next two years.
- M4 Port Talbot junction 40 to junction 41
- M4 slip road improvements at junctions 32 and 33
- A483 Newtown town centre congestion relief
- A55 emergency refuges
The Economy Minister says that the Welsh Government offered 'maximum allowable' financial help to the steel firm Rowecord. But Edwina Hart told the Assembly that the company decided to turn the offer down because of its 'worsening financial position.'
The minister said that Rowecord's management thanked the Welsh Government but felt that the maximum financial support was still not enough. She said officials are in contact with administrators to look at a rescue package and said that she would offer support to any potential buyers.
Economy minister, Edwina Hart, will make a statement to the Assembly this afternoon following the news that Newport-based engineering firm Rowecord is in administration putting 400 jobs at risk.
The Welsh Government has previously said it offered the firm assistance which was not taken up by Rowecord.