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Welsh government scraps Newport bypass

[ June 4, 2019   //   ]

The Welsh Government has made an abrupt U-turn over plans to build a controversial M4 relief road through Newport, South Wales.

First Minister Mark Drakeford went against the advice of planning inspector Bill Wadrup, who after a long drawn out public enquiry described the case for the road as “compelling”.

The £1.4bn scheme would have created a new 14-mile section of motorway into South Wales, bypassing the Brynglas Tunnels, a notorious pinch-point on the M4 into South Wales.

The first minister has however now set up a commission to study alternative solutions.

Environmental groups were strongly opposed to the scheme, saying that it would cut across significant sites for wild birds, but another potential casualty was ABP’s port of Newport, as the new road would have cut across its operational area, rendering large parts of the site unusable by shipping.

However, a £135 million of mitigation measures were announced in late 2017, including new buildings for firms operating in the port and developing the south dock as an alternative to the north dock where a new bridge would make it inaccessible for some vessels. The height of a new bridge over the River Usk would also have been increased.

The Freight Transport Association was though broadly in favour of the road plan and was dismayed at the First Minister’s decision. It said it would cost the Welsh economy hundreds of millions of pounds in lost investment.

 

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