Posted: Tue 4th Jun 2019

M4 decision welcomed by group campaigning against the Red Route on Deeside

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, Jun 4th, 2019

A group campaigning against the so-called “Red Route” in Deeside has welcomed today’s announcement that plans to build the £1.4bn M4 relief road have been axed.

Wales first minister Mark Drakeford announced today that the scheme is being scrapped due to environmental and financial concerns. 

Plans to build a 23-km dual three-lane motorway to bypass Newport had been opposed by environmentalists.

The decision to scrap the scheme follows a public inquiry overseen by planning inspector Bill Wadrup, who said the case for the road had been “compelling”.

Mr Drakeford said he placed greater weight on environmental concerns than the planning inspector and that the Welsh capital budget doesn’t go far enough to cover the projected costs.

The first minister acknowledged there was a consensus that issues in and around Newport need to be addressed and a Commission of transport experts will look at alternative solutions in detail.

In the meantime, a number of measures will be introduced to improve traffic flow around Newport including faster vehicle recovery, extra traffic officer patrols, live journey time information and a public information campaign to change driver behaviour.

Shadow Economy Minister, Russell George AM (Con, Montgomery), accused the Welsh Government of pouring “millions of pounds down the drain,” he said:

“Today’s announcement is a kick in the teeth for Welsh commuters and the future progression of this country.

After years of procrastination from successive Welsh Labour Governments, £44 million spent on a public inquiry, and numerous pleas of help from business leaders, we’ve got nowhere.

It’s shameful that the First Minister has poured millions of pounds down the drain in completing the inquiry, yet only to ignore its findings.”

Jayne Bryant AM (Lab, Newport West) described the decision as a “bitter blow” that would condemn Newport to congestion, idle traffic and air pollution.

Improving public transport in Newport wouldn’t work as only 6% of M4 traffic would be removed, while accidents force more traffic through the city itself.

Any money saved from this decision had to be spent in the Newport area.

Rhiannon Hardiman, Wales Manager for Living Streets the charity for “everyday walking,” said: 

“We are very pleased by today’s announcement from the First Minister scrapping investment into the M4 relief road.

The £1.4bn set aside for the M4 relief road should now be invested inefficient public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure, reducing our nation’s dependency on the private car.

This is the long term change that is required to relieve congestion, improve air quality and help achieve Wales’ world-leading vision for its future generations and for a healthy, active nation.”

A group campaigning for the Welsh Government to scrap its plans to build the new ‘Red Route’ through ancient woodland and agricultural land in Flintshire also welcomed today’s announcement.

The £250m scheme aims to ease congestion problems along the Deeside corridor from the border with England at Sealand through to Northop.

Local campaigner Robert Hodgkinson said:

“The Welsh Government are struggling to meet their Carbon Reduction Target and claiming they protect the natural environment. Their welcome decision today to scrap the plans for the M4 link road in south Wales strongly supports this claim.”

However, with this in mind, how can they justify building a new road through ancient woodland and open countryside at great cost and dubious benefit here in Flintshire?

I am pleased that the Welsh Assembly Government have realised that building a new road in open countryside is out of step with the latest revelation that climate change is at crisis point, and their commitment to secure our environment for future generations.

We are now calling on the Welsh Government to strengthen their commitment by cancelling the Red Route here in Flintshire.”

Jack Sargeant AM (Lab, Alyn & Deeside) made the case for the money saved from scrapping the M4 project to be spent on a range of projects around the country.

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