Wildlife Trust concerned with M4 relief road
5:01pm Saturday 5th October 2013 in News
GWENT Wildlife Trust are “seriously concerned” at the possibility of a new M4 relief road around Newport following the start of the Welsh Government's public consultation period.
The Welsh Government opened its consultation into the proposed development last month, which could see a new motorway built to the south of Newport.
Plans include a new link to the M48 and seeing the old M4 downgraded to a non-motorway road.
But the environmental trust said in a statement: “We are seriously concerned about the damage this proposed new motorway would do to the Gwent Levels, a nationally important place for wildlife.
“The Gwent Levels is one of the largest surviving areas of ancient grazing marshes and reen (drainage ditch) systems in Britain. It is also the largest area of its kind in Wales.
“Five Sites of Special Scientific Interest have been notified right across the Gwent Levels because of the nationally important invertebrates, plant species, otters, water voles and breeding birds that can be found there.
“The Gwent Levels are also a Landscape of Outstanding Historic Interest and classified as Outstanding in terms of history, culture and habitat by LANDMAP. They are vital to Newport and the rest of Wales and must be protected.”
It added: “A motorway through this special area will result in huge damage to biodiversity, agriculture, recreation and local tourism, opening the doors for more development proposals in this special protected area. With the recent State of Nature Report stating that up to 60% of species are declining our biodiversity cannot afford further losses. Gwent Wldlife Trust believes that building a M4 relief road is not justified.
“There are cheaper and less damaging options including integrated traffic management, investment in sustainable transport as well as improvements to junctions and existing alternative routes.
“Traffic levels on the M4 around Newport have also fallen below their peak in 2004.
“If the proposed M4 relief road goes ahead, it will fatally undermine the Welsh Government’s commitment to make sustainable development their central organising principle.
“The environment makes a £6 billion contribution to the Welsh economy and supports one in six jobs in Wales. Irreparably damaging one of Wales’ finest landscapes for an unnecessary road scheme makes no economic or environmental sense.”
The road plan documents and response forms can be found at www.m4newport.com or www.wales.gov.uk/consultations.
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