Welsh Government should reopen consultation
Plaid Cymru has said that an innovative plan is needed to relieve M4 corridor congestion around Newport, and to save money in order for investment in transport links across Wales.
Shadow Economy Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth AM will this week lead an Assembly debate calling for the Welsh Government to rule out its plan for a new M4 to the south of Newport- the so-called “Black Route”- on environmental and value for money grounds, and to instead invest in a high-quality upgrade to the existing A48 corridor; the so-called “Blue Route”.
The cost of the “Black Route” is put at almost £1bn, whereas the cost of the “Blue Route” is around £380m. The “Blue Route” is backed by the Federation of Small Business and the Institute of Directors, and could be completed much earlier than the “Black Route”.
Plaid Cymru will argue that choosing the Blue Route represents a more innovative solution as it will lead to more money being available for transport investment in the rest of the country, including the A55 corridor, the major arteries in west Wales, and the South-East Wales Metro.
Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Economy Minister Rhun ap Iorwerth AM said:
“Plaid Cymru wants to keep the south Wales economy moving by investing in the Blue Route proposals around Newport. 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. It is a high-quality proposal which would deliver a huge infrastructure boost to Newport.
“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.”