Transport Investment and the M4
The First Minister has just completed his statement in the Assembly on the M4 corridor around Newport. Here is my comment.
Since my election to the National Assembly in May 2016 I have kept a close eye on transport issues in my constituency including the new bus station, rolling out the Metro investment and making sure the Welsh Government made the Orders for the forthcoming improvements to the A465 Heads of the Valley (Dowlais to Hirwaun) improvements. These three key transport issues in the constituency are on track with a start to the construction of the new bus station imminent, the Orders made for the road improvement and the investment to be made in the new rail system .
I am also keen to see a brighter future for local bus services and other local transport initiatives which help people move around our communities. It is disappointing to me that I need to make regular representations about local bus services being withdrawn, and the sooner we can legislate for control of bus services and networks the better. I also hope austerity can end so we can better maintain our existing road network.
There is also ongoing investment in local transport initiatives which seek to encourage us to change the ways in which we travel, to improve air quality and to improve facilities for walkers and cyclists.
M4 around Newport
In the wider region there has been an active debate about the M4 and people hold passionate arguments on both sides of this debate.
First Minister’s decision
This morning (Tuesday 4th June) the First Minister has announced a decision following the Inquiry on the M4 corridor around Newport.
In summary due to (a) the impact of the project on the Budget available to the Welsh Government in the foreseeable future it has “an unacceptable impact on other priorities”, and (b) the environmental impacts, the First Minister has decided not to make the Orders for the M4 improvements. The decision also deals with the many issues surrounding the Compulsory Purchase Orders for the scheme. You can read his decision here.
A Commission to recommend solutions
This afternoon the First Minister made his formal statement to the Assembly about his decision on the M4 corridor. He confirmed that he will now establish a Commission to consider and deliver alternative solutions to the problems which affect the M4, especially around Newport and the Brynglas tunnels. There will also be actions to further improve traffic flows in the short term.
I believe we need sustainable solutions to the pressures on the M4 and I said on twitter:
“on balance, probably the right decision in light of spiralling costs and environmental concerns, but immediate solutions to existing congestion and pollution around Newport need to be found as a matter of urgency”.
My focus remains on securing the local improvements that we need to bus, rail and road networks in the constituency and I will await the further solutions that the First Minister has now requested in the wider region.