1. Wales

Calls for M4 relief road rethink

The Welsh Government is coming under pressure to replace plans for a new motorway south of Newport with a cheaper option that critics say would tackle congestion sooner.

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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

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