The board of the Cardiff Capital Region (CCR) Economic Growth Partnership has announced its support for an M4 relief road to be built around Newport.
The board says that the proposed ‘black’ route is critical to support and enable the economic and industrial strategy for growth in South-East Wales, along with adjacent regions in Wales.
Without it, the members fear South-East Wales – one of the fastest growing regions in the UK – will become paralysed by an ageing transport infrastructure.
Chair Frank Holmes says:
“We have listened to the concerns. We have listened to the arguments about the need to improve public transport. We don’t disagree.
“Improved public transport is essential to enable people to move across and around our region. But at the region’s heart is an artery which is already critical to ensuring a steady flow of people, goods and products.
“Unless we relieve the current pressure, that artery is going to stop working completely.”
Mr Holmes says debate about whether there should be an option between building the £734m South Wales Metro or the M4 relief road is flawed.
“Actually, we need both. The Metro is a major project, and its positive effects will be felt quickly. But it is important that expectations are managed.
“The Metro can only do so much and is not going to resolve all our transport ills, certainly not in fully accommodating the transport of heavy goods.
“Rail and road must work in tandem – they simply won’t work in isolation. Connectivity is a key component of our proposed Economic and Industrial Growth Plan for the region. Other regions in the UK are becoming stronger by the day and we must connect with them also.
“We need to ensure the Cardiff Capital Region, and Wales, remain economically competitive with those regions. Otherwise, we will be simply unable to resolve the historical economic and social issues we are trying to address by binding the public and private sectors into a cohesive economic growth plan for the future prosperity of all.
“The Partnership says today that the M4 relief road must be built.”
The CCR Economic Growth Partnership comprises representatives from businesses, higher education, social enterprise, employment and local government, and is responsible for reviewing the region’s economic strategy, making recommendations with regards to how the CCR City Deal is implemented, and advising on investment decisions throughout the Cardiff Capital Region.
The Partnership directly advises the CCR Cabinet which comprises the leaders of the 10 local authorities in South-East Wales.