FURTHER anger has been voiced over the news a new £1 billion section of motorway will be built to the south of Newport, with Plaid Cymru condemning the decision as “reckless” and saying the party will withdraw from budget talks.
On Wednesday, the Welsh Government announced the so-called ‘black route’ - a new road including a bridge over the Usk - will be built, with an expected completion date of 2022.
This route through the Gwent Levels was picked above the alternatives of upgrades to the existing motorway or the Southern Distributor Road.
But Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said yesterday that alternative options would have allowed transport to be improved across the whole of Wales.
Wildlife Trust Wales also spoke out to criticise transport minister Edwina Hart for making the decision before receiving an Environment Committee report on the M4 proposals.
“At a time when local authority budgets and public services are being cut, the Welsh Government have not stated how it intends to fund the scheme, or what will not be funded as all borrowing powers will be spent on one infrastructure project,” they said.
Meanwhile, the RSPB Cymru, which operates the visitor centre on the Newport Wetlands reserve, said the announcement “made a mockery” of the government’s sustainable development commitment.
The leader of the Wales Green Party, Pippa Bartolotti, added: “Generations to come will have to suffer the loss of wildlife, the concrete, the unthinkable debt, and the pollution this will encourage. Wales has become a paradise for polluters.”
Some did welcome the plan. Torfaen MP Paul Murphy said: “I’m in favour of a relief road, the congestion in our area of south Gwent is horrendous. It’s not just us, it’s the gateway to Wales. It really has to be sorted out.”
And Ed Townsend, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Newport West, said: “Newport and the whole of South Wales need the relief this road will bring.”
A Welsh Government spokesman said: “It is disappointing that the Party of Wales do not see the benefit of this major infrastructure project, but that’s a matter for them.”