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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Costs of M4 extension start to spiral out of control

When the M4 extension around Newport was first mooted we were assured that it could be delivered for less than £1 billion. Alas the inevitable has happened and according to this report on the BBC, not only is the cost now likely to spiral upwards to £1.7 billion, but there may well be a judicial review as well, which will add to the cost and delays.

Of course the real cost of this misguided scheme is its impact on the environment. It is planned to infringe on five SSSIs and will compromise the mitigation measures that were put in place on the Gwent Levels to compensate for the loss of wildlife when the two Cardiff river outlets were enclosed by a barrage.

There needs to be full and proper scrutiny of this scheme by AMs, but surely we have reached the stage where not only is it unaffordable, but unacceptable too. Like all new roads this extension will fill up with traffic within a few years, adding to pollution, and any gains in journey times will be lost.

The investment that needs to be made is in public transport. The possible £1.7 billion budget should be more than enough to transform public transport options for commuters in South East Wales as well as those further west in my own area. The Welsh Government needs to be looking at that instead.
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