M4 relief road: “diggers in the ground within 12 months” say Welsh Conservatives
Internal battles at the heart of the Welsh Labour Party could place Wales’ economic future at risk say the Welsh Conservatives, as debates intensify around proposals to build an M4 relief road.
According to recent reports, senior figures are “locked in dispute” over the expansion of the main route through South Wales, with some Labour AMs trying to get plans for a relief road dropped from the party’s manifesto once and for all.
It follows an earlier deal with the Welsh Lib Dems to delay a decision until after the Welsh General Election.
The Leader of the Welsh Conservatives – Andrew RT Davies – has today claimed that Labour’s dithering risks undermining Wales’ economic performance, and says that a Welsh Government would get “diggers in the grounds” on a relief road within 12 months of the election.
Mr Davies has previously called for greater transparency over the proposed costs of the project arguing that public support for an M4 relief road could increase if the Welsh Government were to bring forward up to date costings.
The calls came after the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, told BBC Radio Wales that the cost of a motorway grade road was going to “come in way below” a billion pounds.
Mr Davies has today joined Shadow Economy Minister, William Graham, to announce Welsh Conservative plans to get ‘diggers in the ground’ within twelve months of a Welsh Conservative Government getting into power in May – starting with an expedited review of all route options.
Roadworks would then be initiated within 12 months of polling day.
Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, said:
“The habitual gridlock on the M4 around Newport is a huge barrier to economic growth, regularly causing delays for thousands of commuters.
“We all know that something needs to be done urgently, but the in-fighting in the Labour Party appears to be causing even greater confusion.
“A public review will give equal consideration to all the options, delivering a route that provides value for money and equips the Welsh economy for future growth. But, we cannot allow Labour’s dithering to kick this into the long grass.
“A great deal of money has already been spent considering which route to take forward, and there are now suggestions that Labour are considering dropping the commitment altogether.
“The longer this is allowed to drag on the more expensive the investment becomes, and a Welsh Conservative Government would expedite the route review and have diggers in the ground within twelve months.”
Shadow Economy Minister, William Graham, said:
“Having spent more than a decade deliberating the need for an M4 relief road in South Wales and more than £20millon of public money on consultation fees, it is disgraceful that Welsh Labour are still completely at odds as whether to commit to delivering this vital stretch of road.
“The capacity of the existing M4 around Newport has reached breaking point and as a result we are faced with daily congestion which puts our safety at risk and impacts on our quality of life.
“Much of the controversy over the black route has come down to cost; though there are also concerns that the route would damage areas of environmental significance – all of which would be assessed in a public review.
“Labour were in power at both ends of the M4 for 13 years without making progress and Conservatives in Westminster have brought forward the borrowing powers needed to make the relief road a reality.
“It’s time for decisive action, and the Welsh Conservatives are the only party going into the election pledging an early decision on this vital project.
“Don’t let Labour’s dithering put Wales’ economic future at risk”.