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Plan for new UK £135m road that would cut traffic at major motorway could be revived

Scrapped plans for a new £135.7million road which would relieve traffic on a major motorway could be revived it has been revealed. The M4 relief road in Newport was scrapped in 2019 because of cost and impact on the environment after £43.1m of taxpayers’ cash had already been spent on it.


Then in 2023, Wales’ Labour government announced it was scrapping all of its major road projects on environmental grounds.


But now Wales’ new transport secretary Ken Skates said schemes to relieve traffic on the country’s main roads, including a third Menai crossing, could be considered.


However, despite the change of opinion on new roads, Mr Skates said he did not believe Wales could afford to complete the M4 relief road, but said he was "very open" to discussions with the UK government over funding.


He told BBC Radio Wales: "I just can't see that happening. The cost would just be

astronomical.


"Given where we are with the economy, that road scheme would be far in excess of the estimates back when it was proposed, and I just do not see the finance available."

Other scrapped projects which may be revived include a third crossing of the Menai Strait between Anglesey and the mainland and the controversial "red route" in Flintshire, which would run from Northop in Wales to the border with England.


Mr Skates added: “We have to ensure that they reflect the reality of the climate emergency that we face.


"I want Wales to be at the forefront of design and implementation of new schemes


"We haven't stopped building roads, but we do need to deal with the criteria for new road building schemes which states that you can't build them if it leads to extra capacity.


"That's caused difficulty in terms of considering schemes, and interpretation."

Speaking to the same radio station, Welsh Secretary David TC Davies called Mr Skates' words "promising".


He said: “I'm trying to work out whether the new road ban is in place or not.


"I'm not sure if the Welsh government's objection [to the M4 relief road] is on the grounds of principle, or on the grounds of cost.


"If it is on the grounds of cost, then a discussion is definitely worth having."


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