A solution has to be found to the M4 around Newport

A solution has to be found to the M4 around Newport. My column for the South Wales Argus: https://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/17696662.short-term-measures-on-m4-are-not-good-enough/ 

THE decision to not go ahead with an M4 around Newport is deeply disappointing.

The process spanned years and created much uncertainty for local residents and businesses while the congestion and air pollution has deteriorated.

While I respect the objections of environmentalists and there is no doubt we need a much better public transport system, many will conclude that this decision condemns Newport to further decades of heavy congestion, idling traffic and toxic fumes.

Stationary traffic pollutes more than flowing traffic, and persistent congestion means toxins on this stretch of motorway and the surrounding residential areas are dangerously high.

Whenever there is an accident or congestion on the M4 it pushes more people onto local roads, taking traffic closer to homes and schools.

Local air pollution levels are a public health issue which cannot be ignored.

Following the decision the first minister announced an expert commission to make recommendations on next steps.

It is crucial that the commission does not only consider the opinions of a select few – it must include the people whose daily lives are actually affected.

The vast majority of M4 traffic is not local traffic, but it is the people of our city who suffer most.

I have sought confirmation from ministers that the commission will undertake work relating to traffic travelling from outside Newport, and across the Severn Crossings.

This traffic has increased by 10 per cent since the tolls were removed.

The commission is due to report back in six months but the minister has announced several measures in the short term.

He has said that if ideas are developed which can be implemented immediately, they will.

I am under no illusion that these short term measures will solve the issue. The problem around the Brynglas tunnels must not be confined to the ‘too difficult’ box – that is not good enough.

The funding set aside by Welsh Government for the relief road project must be spent on solving this specific issue.

The people of our city have suffered for long enough, and have seen many reviews come and go.

I will keep pressing the Welsh Government that this commission must be the one that actually delivers meaningful results.

We cannot go back to square one.

A solution has to be found, and quickly.

I’m always happy to discuss this or any other issue.

Please do not hesitate to contact me on [email protected] or 01633 376627.