Understanding environmental impact is crucial to sustainability and community quality of life.

M4 Relief Road Public Inquiry

The public inquiry into the planned M4 Relief Road started at the Lysaghts Institute in Newport on Tuesday the 28th of February. We joined representatives of other environmental and conservation organisations to demonstrate our continuing opposition to the planned road because it is an expensive, wasteful and unsustainable attempt to solve a poorly defined problem.

Carole Jacob and Vic Warren at the start of the public inquiry into the planned M4 Relief Road.

Unsustainable Solution

In a telling intervention shortly before the beginning of the public inquiry, the Future Generations Commissioner, pointed out that the proposed road is not a sustainable solution that will benefit future generations. A key concern is that the relief road was proposed a long time ago as a solution to the problems of that time. It is no longer a solution to current problems. Furthermore it is a solution that benefits only the few while ignoring the needs of the many.

Carole Jacob and Corinne Jones outside the Lysaght Institute at the start of the public inquiry into the planned M4 Relief Road.

An Alternative: Spend Less to Gain More

There is a finite budget available to the Welsh Government for capital projects. The M4 relief road will absorb the available budget and more. Indeed it will cost more that Wales appears to be able to raise and there has been little indication of how the gap might be bridged, other than to say that the proposed South Wales Metro may have to be sacrificed to fund the road.

The metro offers opportunity for many to travel far more widely in South Wales. The impact that the partial reopening of the railway line from Ebbw Vale had on the population of the valley was tremendous. The metro is likely to repeat that success and help to revitalise the Valleys as well as improving transport links in the South East Wales conurbation. Building a bypass for Newport will only help some car drivers get to Cardiff a few minutes quicker without having much economic impact on Valley communities.