Welsh government axes M4 relief road on environmental grounds

Plans to build a six-lane motorway through legally protected areas in Wales have been dropped due to its potentially damaging environmental impacts.

Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford today scrapped his government’s manifesto promise to build a 23km road south of Newport to relieve traffic congestion on the M4. The move ran contrary to an independent planning inspector’s report, which concluded that the scheme should go ahead.  

In a written statement, Drakeford said he attached “greater weight” to the environmental consequences of the £1.2bn scheme than the inspector’s report had, particularly the “substantial adverse impact” the motorway would have on the Gwent Levels – which is home to six designated sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs), totalling 5,700 hectares.

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