M4 – A vulnerable Motorway

M4 Motorway, the sole road transport route across South Wales, is currently too vulnerable to many causes of disruption and chaos.

The junction 28 traffic lights failure demonstrates vulnerability of the M4; resulting tailbacks along the M4 in both directions around Junction 28; together with the miles of gridlocked traffic along the road network feeding the motorway junctions.

The disruption is not only limited to motorway users; to business, commuter and road freight traffic. These tailbacks affect all the roads leading into and out of the City centre, disrupting all users of public transport.

The vulnerability of the M4 is a “foot on the windpipe of economic growth of South Wales”. It is vital that we make necessary enhancements to the M4 around Newport as soon as possible.

I am dismayed by the Welsh Government’s failure ‘step up to the line’ and commit to an M4 Relief Road. It is distracting to keep referring back to modifying the A48 Southern Distributor Road. The 10 roundabouts, 6 sets of traffic lights, 50mph speed limit, together with the fact that whenever it has been necessary to close the M4, it quickly becomes gridlocked; illustrate why this is not an innovative or cost effective alternative, but deeply flawed and dated.

Flooding – Tribute and Lessons

We were fortunate that the flood damage along the River Usk and Wye was not as severe as in other parts of Wales; notably Aberystwyth and along the Ceredigion coastline.

Residents on the Lighthouse Park Estate, on the Wentlooge Levels; together with those in parts of Crindau and Pill were evacuated and Newport Council initiated an emergency plan for a precautionary evacuation of threaten areas of the City to ensure the safety and well being of residents.

We all appreciate the enormous challenges arising from these devastating floods. I am sure you join me in acknowledging the contribution made by all those who worked tirelessly to limit the damage, protect communities and ensure public safety; notably those volunteers and voluntary sector organisations.

I appreciate that tides and on-shore winds produced a tidal surge which augmented flooding on the occasion; but periods of intense rain over long periods of time are becoming a too frequent occurrence.

We need a multi-agency appraisal of this situation and ensure that every aspect of the entire operation to address the threat of flooding is scrutinised and best practices set out for the efficient tackling of future flood conditions.