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M4 relief road project makes political waves

Words: Roger Milne
M4 across the River Severn

The Prime Minister this week ramped up the pressure on the new administration over the fate of the £1 billion M4 relief road.

The proposals - first put forward 25 years ago - are for a new 24-kilometre section of motorway and six-lane bridge over the River Usk to ease problems from the bottleneck at the Brynglas tunnels.

During Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons on 11 May, David Cameron said: “The delay in upgrading the M4 is damaging business in South Wales and frankly it’s high time the Welsh Government got on with it.”

However, there are question marks over the future of the M4 plan, as Labour failed to gain a majority in last week’s Welsh Assembly election.

Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP are all against the route Labour had opted for.

The Welsh Conservatives support building an M4 relief road, but have not settled on an option.

Hauliers and the owners of Newport docks have all formally lodged objections against the scheme.

Meanwhile, business lobbying group the Confederation of British Industry has claimed that most companies want the government to get on with the project as quickly as possible.

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