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M4: Friends of the Earth 'willing to seek judge's opinion'

European and Welsh law require the Welsh Government to consider a variety of options with an open mind in its transport planning in order to make sure that unnecessary environmental damage is avoided.

We don’t think they’ve done that - and we’re willing to seek a judge’s opinion on the Welsh Government’s ability to comply with the law.

– Gareth Clubb, Friends of the Earth Cymru

Read: Friends of the Earth begin action over M4 proposals

Friends of the Earth begin action over M4 proposals

M4

Friends of the Earth Cymru have confirmed today that a letter will be sent to the Welsh Government, asking them to withdraw and restart an environmental consultation about the proposed M4 relief road route.

The group say they are concerned about the environmental impact of the proposals, and claim alternative routes to the one through the Gwent Levels - which was announced as the preferred road earlier this month - were not given enough consideration.

The Welsh Government has two weeks to respond to the letter, and depending on the outcome of that, Friends of the Earth may decide to then begin judicial review proceedings.

Ministers have previously said they expected to face a legal challenge.

M4 decision 'could have been handled better' says Labour AM

Labour's Mick Antoniw tells Political Editor Adrian Masters that the Welsh Government's decision on the M4 relief road project 'could have been handled better.'

He's a member of the Environment Committee which completed its report into the plan today. Other Labour members are also said to be disappointed that the announcement was made before the committee finished its scrutiny.

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FSB: M4 relief road is a 'billion pound mistake'

Plans to improve the M4 corridor around Newport are a step closer after the Welsh Government approved proposals for a new section of motorway south of the city.

Iestyn Davies from the Federation of Small Businesses Wales says the relief road will be a 'billion pound mistake' and that other suggestions for the road should be considered.

Lib Dems say M4 plan makes budget talks difficult

The Welsh Lib Dems are now the only party talking to the Welsh Government about a deal to support the budget. Their leader, Kirsty Willaims, says that following Plaid Cymru's decision to quit the negotiations over the £1 billion Newport motorway announcement says she'll keep negotiating but the plan for the M4 makes it "difficult".

The Welsh Liberal Democrat priority for the next budget continues to be extra support for Wales’ poorest school children through our Pupil Premium. However, it’s very difficult to see how we can support a budget that prioritises the current M4 proposals and that is what we will explain to the Welsh Government in future negotiations.

The M4 announcement yesterday was a huge mistake. It completely flies in the face of the environmental and economic issues. Our proposed alternatives are far less expensive and less likely to damage vast swathes of the environment. A responsible Government wouldn’t spend its entire borrowing powers on one single road, leaving no money left for other transport projects.

– Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Kirsty Williams AM

Plaid quit budget talks over "reckless" new M4

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood has pulled her party out of budget talks with the Welsh Government in protest at the decision to spend £1 billion on a new motorway around Newport. She claimed it was a reckless and undemocratic decision, arguing that cheaper and more effective solutions to the traffic jams on the existing M4 would have left more money to be spent in other parts of Wales.

The Welsh Government does not have a majority in the Senedd and needs the support of at least one other party to get its budget passed. In the past, it has reached a deal with Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats or both. Plaid and the Welsh Lib Dems has reached an agreement to negotiate jointly in future.

This is a stand that Plaid Cymru has been compelled to make. The Welsh Government acted with complete disregard for the democratic institution when it took this decision without proper scrutiny and with no business case.

Plaid Cymru wants the M4 congestion problem resolved now and resolved properly. There is an option to do this at a more reasonable cost giving us the same answer and that is why Plaid Cymru in government turned down this more expensive and environmentally damaging option.

In budget negotiations, we would have worked hard to ensure the best value for money for the Welsh taxpayer, and yet the Welsh Government has blown a billion pounds on this extravagant project when there are more efficient and more cost-effective alternatives.

– Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood AM
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