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Roads: M4, Swansea

One lane is closed and there's queueing traffic after an accident on the M4 in both directions between J44 A48 / A4230 / B4291 (Llansamlet) and J45 A4067 / B4603 (Ynysforgan),

There's congestion Eastbound to J46 A48 / B4489 (Llangyfelach) and Westbound to J43 A465 (Llandarcy).

Travel time is between 15 and 30 minutes.

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Minister refuses to make motorway commitment

The Welsh Government has refused to discuss its proposals for an M4 relief road around Newport, after Plaid Cymru called an Assembly debate on the issue. The Economy Minister, Edwina Hart, said she and her colleagues would not even vote at the end of the debate to avoid any suggestion of bias.

The Welsh Government has not tabled any amendments nor will be voting this afternoon.

– Economy Minister Edwina Hart AM

The government risks a legal challenge if there's any suggestion that it took the decision before hearing all the arguments. The choice is between a £1 billion new motorway, which the government originally proposed, or the cheaper 'blue route', an upgrade of the Newport southern distributor road).

We all agree that the M4 around Newport is a problem area for traffic that needs to be solved. Traffic jams cause delays for road users and have a negative impact on the economy. Plaid Cymru is pressing for a solution which is sustainable and represents value for money. The ‘blue route’ option is cost effective and can be delivered quickly. It’s the best option for Wales, for road users and for Welsh business.

– Plaid Cymru Economy Spokesperson Rhun ap Iorwerth AM

Labour AMs argued that it was wrong to decide Assembly policy on the M4 relief road when its environment committee is still looking at the options. One Labour member of the committee, Mick Antoniw, said he would abstain in today's vote in order to preserve his impartiality.

This motion is irresponsible and shows a serious lack of judgment. Before the inquiry is complete ... it says 'this is the option we must take'. Plaid Cymru members [of the environment committee] can have no credibility on this issue.

– Mick Antoniw, Labour AM for Pontypridd

Don't prejudge M4 plans says First Minister

Carwyn Jones has told AMs that calls to replace the proposed M4 relief motorway with a cheaper option are prejudging the inquiry by the Assembly's Environment Committee. The First Minister said they should also wait for the response from the Economy Minister, Edwina Hart.

Any way of resolving the problem has to be done in a sustainable manner and not have to be revisited after 5 or 6 years.

– First Minister Carwyn Jones AM

Both Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats are critical of the £1 billion scheme, as are the Federation of Small Businesses and the Institute of Directors. They all argue that an upgrade to Newport's southern distributor road could provide a much quicker and more cost-effective solution.

The Chair of the Environment Committee, Alun Ffred Jones, has written to Edwina Hart, asking for an assurance that the alternative road is considered. Plaid Cymru will open an Assembly debate on the issue tomorrow. Plaid can expect the backing of the Liberal Democrats but not the Conservatives.

The UK government has put the tools in place and we are convinced of the need for a new relief road. The southern distributor road has huge obstacles to being developed. The M4 relief road needs to offer the best long term solution.

– Leader of the Opposition Andrew RT Davies AM

Plaid call for "quicker and cheaper" M4 relief road

Plaid Cymru are calling on the Welsh Government to reopen its consultation on an M4 relief road around Newport, to allow consideration of the so-called blue route - an upgrade of the city's existing southern distributor road.

Plaid argue that it would be cheaper and quicker to build.

This would be a significant and exciting boost to the economy around the city, and would give traffic an alternative route when the M4 becomes too congested.

The FSB and IoD have backed this proposal and it is a much quicker and decisive way of dealing with the congestion than building a new M4, which would not open until 2031.

The other benefit of the Blue Route is that it protects the sensitive environmental sites on the Gwent Levels.

It is hard to put a financial cost on saving the Gwent Levels, but the Blue Route also saves around £620m which Plaid Cymru would want to see reinvested in projects elsewhere in Wales.

We are giving the Labour government a chance to back out of its plans to borrow and spend £1bn on a 14km stretch of motorway; a totally disproportionate way of dealing with congestion.

Plaid Cymru’s alternative plan would be completed more quickly and would leave more money for the infrastructure needs of the valleys, west and north Wales.

– Plaid Cymru Economy spokesperson Rhun ap Iorwerth AM

More: Welsh Government gets borrowing powers to finance M4 relief road

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Four-car collision on M4 in Newport

One lane is closed on the Eastbound carriageway of the M4 in Newport after an accident.

Four cars were involved in the collision between J26 A4051 (Malpas Road) and J25A A4042 / B4596 (Newport/Grove Park Roundabout), near the exit of the Brynglas tunnel.

There is congestion back to to J27 B4591 (Highcross).

Protest over Port Talbot M4 junction closure plans

Protesters say the J41 plans will damage trade, and cause traffic chaos. Credit: Steve Redmore

Campaigners say more than 100 people have protested at the Senedd this lunchtime, over controversial plans to partially close an M4 junction in Port Talbot.

They handed in a petition with more than 22,000 signatures, opposing the plans for Junction 41 of the motorway.

Plans to close the junction were announced by the Welsh Government in March, as part of a trial to ease congestion.

Both the westbound on-slip and eastbound off-slip roads had been earmarked for trial closure, but last week it was announced that those plans had been altered and that a peak-time closure of the westbound on-slip only will be trialled from August.

The protesters oppose any closure, saying it will hit trade and worsen traffic problems in Port Talbot.

Campaigners handed their petition in at the Senedd. Credit: Steve Redmore

Protest over planned closure of Port Talbot M4 junction

A trial closure of the westbound on-slip road will take place this summer. Credit: ITV News

Around 300 Port Talbot residents and traders are expected to travel to the Senedd today to protest against the proposed closure of a junction of the M4 into the town.

The group will hand over a petition which has been signed by thousands of people who oppose the plans, claiming it will cut off the town.

Both the westbound on-slip and eastbound off-slip roads had originally been earmarked for a trial closure. But last week it was announced that those plans had been altered and that a peak-time closure of the Westbound on-slip only will be trialled from August.

'Half-hearted' change to motorway plans condemned

The Plaid Cymru AM for South West Wales has criticised as 'half-hearted' an announcement of changed plans to close Junction 41 of the M4 motorway. Bethan Jenkins said the move is 'cynical opportunism.'

This is being billed as great news for all those people in Port Talbot and the surrounding area who fought hard to get this decision overturned. But let's not be in any doubt here - this announcement is a half-hearted job that falls way short of the full overturn campaigners wanted, with nothing to prevent the Welsh Government ordering a full closure in the future.

What we have is nothing more than careful Labour stage management of a Labour-created problem. It was a Labour minister who announced the trial closure out of the blue and, when the scale of the opposition became apparent, Labour party members and representatives came rushing out of the woodwork to demonstrate publicly that they were on the side of the people.

This cynical opportunism is reflected in the fact that the minister saw fit to make a joint press announcement with the council leader - like her, a Labour representative - rather than inform local non-Labour Assembly Members through the usual channels. I've only just heard from the Welsh Government this morning.

– Bethan Jenkins AM, Plaid Cymru
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