M4 relief road: What's happened so far?

Credit: PA

Hundreds of people are expected to protest today over plans for an M4 relief road in Newport to ease traffic

Campaigners will protest outside the Senedd and say it'll cause more congestion and 'damage' wildlife as well as the environment.

At a time when world leaders are at a UN conference to tackle climate change, and shortly after the IPCC report warned the world that climate change is happening at an unprecedented pace and scale, we cannot lock ourselves into a high-carbon polluting future by blowing all Wales' borrowing money and more on this devastating road. This decision symbolises the future we want for Wales - we have a duty to future generations to say No New M4 and invest instead in a sustainable future.

Haf Elgar, Director of Friends of the Earth Cymru
Credit: PA

A second motorway has been proposed to the south of Newport, parallel to the existing M4 motorway from junction 23A at Magar, to junction 29 at Castleton, avoiding the need to widen the Brynglas Tunnels.

What's happened so far?

  • An M4 relief road was first proposed by the Wales Office in 1991, but there was little progress in the following years.

  • Plans for the new M4 were announced in March 2006, but in July 2009, the Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones announced that the plans were to be dropped.

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

  • A public consultation exercise opened in March 2012.

The proposed route would bypass the Brynglas tunnels. Credit: ITV Wales
  • In 2014, Wales Transport Minister Edwina Hart said that the preferred "black route" south of Newport between Junctions 23 and 29, including a new crossing of the River Usk, would go ahead.

  • In 2017, a public enquiry was launched to look at the £1.3 billion pound project and its economic impact, environmental and social factors too. It looked at evidence relating to 22 possible alternatives to the 'black route'. During the inquiry, the Welsh government announced that the road will cost an extra £136 million and the opening would also be delayed by two years.

  • In October 2018, AMs were told they will have a "binding vote" on whether to build an M4 relief road before First Minister Carwyn Jones stands down in December.