THERE are no plans to close the M4 during Newport’s Nato summit this September, city councillors have been told.
Superintendent Mark Warrender of Gwent Police gave a presentation to Newport council’s full council meeting on Tuesday evening.
Responding to questions and concerns raised by councillors, Supt Warrender said the police would do everything they could to ensure local business can operate freely during the event and exploit the opportunity.
Cllr Matthew Evans asked whether Supt Warrender could dispel the rumour of the M4 having to close to the public during the transport of dignitaries.
While transport management plans are still ongoing, Supt Warrender said: “There are no plans at this moment in time to close the motorway.”
The summit will be the biggest security event ever undertaken by the UK and will be led by Gwent Police, Newport council was told.
Addressing the council 127 days before the event on September 4 of this year, Supt Warrender said the summit would be the biggest policing operation to ever happen in South Wales, attracting 150 protected people among the delegation.
He said: “It’s an important event but no more important than the safety and security of the people of Newport.”
The option of closing schools on the two days to further reduce traffic was raised, although Supt Mark Warrender said this would be a matter for the local authority to decide.
Although the event itself is two days long, there will be potential for protest for up to 10 days. There will be a seven-day deployment minimum for all police officers involved and annual leave restrictions and rest day cancellations will apply to all those in Gwent Police and South Wales Police.
Supt Warrender went on to say the operation would be “very much a police operation” and would not involve the armed forces.