As part of our ongoing series of special features, we asked our expert panel;
Should the M4 Relief Road be given the Red or Green Light?
Our panel’s thoughts can be found below, but if you would like to contribute to this feature, or any of our future features, please contact [email protected]
Graham L Morgan | Business Doctors Cardiff
The quote “If you build it, HE will come” – famous because of the movie Field of Dreams, based on W.P Kinsella’s novel Shoeless Joe. For the last 30 years there has been a ground swell of belief that this same principle applies to the M4 Relief Road! Lets get it built and opportunities will arise that no one has contemplated.
It is widely accepted the stretch between J24 and J28 is not fit for purpose and has a significantly negative impact on many aspects of living and working in South East Wales. Perhaps as importantly it is ‘a gateway to South Wales’ and the primary access for the hugely important West Wales Tourism Industry and connectivity with Southern Ireland but it certainly does not feel like that!
This piece of infrastructure is essential to:
- More efficient movement of people and goods
- Improve perception of Wales being open for Business.
- Create a more attractive offering at a time the South East is getting increasingly more expensive to operate a business from.
- Drive tourism opportunity.
- Add dimension to some of the investment that is happening in Wales.
- Open greater opportunity for Welsh Businesses to capture work across the bridge.
How much real opportunity has Wales missed out on by not having built the M4 relief Road 20 years ago??’ Welsh politicians need to champion this project for the good of our country and get real momentum to take full advantage of what is at stake.
Wynne Jones IP
Dr Elliott Davies | Patent Attorney and Partner
Dr Elliott Davies, patent attorney and partner and leading intellectual property firm Wynne Jones IP, said:
“We recognise that the issue of whether or not to progress with the new M4 relief road has been a controversial topic over a significant number of years.
“As a firm which has a Cardiff headquartered office, with others in Cheltenham, London, and Telford, our legal team is not immune from the issues posed by congestion when travelling into Wales.
“We recognise that additional time spent waiting in traffic can be frustrating and means time lost in the office which could, over a period of time, prove to be detrimental to our clients.
“While we sympathise with residents in surrounding areas who oppose the project, we also recognise the potential for significant economic growth and increased trade should it progress.
“We feel that enhanced transport infrastructure would greatly improve economic development in Wales, especially when coupled with the abolition of toll charges.”
Alan Brayley | CEO of AB Glass
“Unreliable journey times and traffic congestion, particularly during rush hour, are common occurrences on the M4 around Newport. It is at breaking point and causing businesses considerable problems getting to meetings and moving goods around. The new M4 relief road must be the only viable option in our opinion. It is a sustainable, long term solution to the current social, environmental and economic problems associated with this route through South Wales. It will improve accessibility for businesses, people, Welsh services, and even open Wales up to international markets. Let us hope the Welsh Government is really committed to making a change on this scale for the benefit of the Welsh economy and Wales in general.”
The Smoke Haus
Mark Power | Managing director of The Smoke Haus
“I think it’s atrocious that the M4 relief road was muted 20 years ago, and it is still undergoing an independent enquiry. David Cameron described the Brynglas Tunnels as the ‘foot on the windpipe of the Welsh economy’ and he couldn’t be more right. I understand the environmental impact it may have, however it is stunting the growth of the Welsh economy in a huge way.
We attract the most amazing events in Cardiff, due to us having the best stadium in the world and, it angers me to know that customers are stuck in traffic on the motorway, instead of experiencing all Cardiff city centre has to offer.
“I think the entertainment industry will start to think twice when it comes to using Cardiff as a prime location to hold events. The access in and out of the city being so restricted by the tunnels is just unacceptable, it will no doubt harm the Welsh economy with regards to travel and tourism even more so in the future”
South Wales Chamber of Commerce
Harri Lloyd-Davies | President of the South Wales Chamber of Commerce
“The need for a new motorway around Newport is overwhelming, with congestion around the Brynglas Tunnels negatively impacting businesses and people from across South Wales.
“The Welsh Government, to their credit, have brought forward plans for a new motorway to the south of Newport, but last month Ministers announced that they would give Assembly Members a vote on whether it should be built. There is a real risk that after years of campaigning we could end up with nothing – just more congestion and traffic jams. Therefore, we’re urging everyone, whether they are part of the Chamber of Commerce or not, to support this petition.
“The first proposal for a relief road was published in 1991. We believe that with almost 30 years of inaction this has hindered jobs growth and the economic well-being of South Wales today. The employment rate in Wales over the last 30 years has been significantly lower than the UK average, while Welsh GVA, one of the main economic measures, has consistently been less than 75% of UK GVA.
“The new motorway would bring positive change and is expected to reduce transport costs and travel time, while giving a boost to economic growth through opening up employment sites and making it easier for visitors to travel to Wales.
“I understand that there are many individuals with strongly held objections to the project, but if we are to improve the economic well-being of future generations Welsh politicians need to break from the status-quo and support the building of major infrastructure in Wales.”
Kevin Ward Media
Kevin Ward | Managing Director of Kevin Ward Media
An M4 relief road has been the subject of debate for almost three decades.
And while the debates and seemingly-endless consultations have dragged through the decades the traffic problems in and around Newport have worsened.
The opening of the Southern Distributor Road brought some short-term relief but it becomes just another part of a gridlocked city when there is any problem on the M4 around Newport. The stark reality is the motorway around Newport is not fit for purpose.
The major problem has always been the stretch leading to and from the Brynglas tunnels – a three-lane motorway narrows to two lanes and when accidents happen they tend to happen on that part of the M4.
Yet this is one of the busiest stretches of motorway in Britain and is the key arterial route in and out of Wales.
The M4 between junction 24 at The Coldra and junction 28 at Tredegar Park is a vital link for hundreds of businesses employing thousands of people.
Everyone has known about the problems with the M4 around Newport for decades. And yet we still wait for something to happen.
There have been two consultations and a public inquiry in the last six years.
Newport faces some huge economic opportunities over the next couple of years: the scrapping of the Severn Bridge tolls, the opening of the International Convention Centre Wales, and the electrification of the rail line to Paddington.
Yet without a solution to the traffic issues on the M4 around the city, in my view none of these opportunities will be fully realised.
Let’s get the finance sorted, find a way around the environmental issues, and get this road built.
It is too important to the economic future of Newport and the surrounding area to continue to delay a project that should have been completed years ago.
David Morgan | Policy Manager – RICS
RICS recognises all of the concerns and yet for all that we called for the project in our Manifesto for the last Assembly elections, and continue to view it as a vital project for Wales of the highest priority. The reason is simple it is as David Cameron once put it a foot on the windpipe of the Welsh economy. It is as David Cameron once put it a foot on the windpipe of the Welsh economy.
The road already carries up to 117,000 vehicles a day and the consequences if it was put out of action for any length of time without an alternative scarcely need stating. For a real-life example only a few years ago a single car incident was sufficient to block it. That it must be repeated was only a single vehicle.
The effect of any multi vehicle incident or incidents need hardly be imagined. Therefore, we again call on all stakeholders to expedite this vital project for Wales as soon as possible.
The M4 is a major artery for the whole of the UK, but no region is perhaps more profoundly affected by that importance than Wales. It is time the decades of talking stopped and the action started.
Read the full article HERE
Adrian Aurelius | Chair of the NatWest Cymru Board
“Improving Wales’ road infrastructure is crucial to giving the country the foundation it needs to attract leading businesses and also improve the mobility and opportunities of those already supporting the economy here. The current state-of-play with congestion in the Newport area of South East Wales at a problematic high is counter productive to supporting the stability and growth of businesses here. As a bank we want to see these businesses thrive, though it is important any infrastructure project is governed properly from a financial perspective.”
TAND Advisory Corporation
Andrew Bolt | Managing Director
The prospect of the M4 relief road is an exciting one and something which is much needed for the city.
Regular delays on today’s motorway is a daily annoyance for commuters and there’s an economic cost attached to that. It also doesn’t give a good first impression to people travelling into Wales.
Located just off junction 30 of the M4, Cardiff Gate International Business Park is home to over 70 businesses; the workers commuting in and out as well as visitors to businesses based here would certainly benefit from the construction of the M4 relief road.
With everyday traffic jams, we see a wide range of businesses being negatively affected by the congestion on the current M4. Building this fundamental piece of infrastructure would provide opportunities to boost the economic growth of South Wales.
Dale Williams | CEO
We work with candidates and employers across Wales and beyond, many of whom have to travel in and out of Wales. The development of the M4 relief road is something that would certainly benefit our client and candidate base.
The new motorway could bring a positive change to South Wales by reducing travel costs and time and giving the city an economic boost by making it easier for workers to travel.
Jobs and economic growth is hindered by current congestion on the M4. If we are to continue to improve the economy and increase employment opportunities then the construction of the relief road is vital.