AN ENVIRONMENTAL group which has been vocal in its opposition of Welsh Government's chosen M4 relief road route is to write to politicians in Cardiff Bay, asking them to reconsider their plans.

If Friends of the Earth Cymru cannot persuade Welsh ministers to change their mind in the next two weeks, they plan to take the matter to judicial review, confirmed director Gareth Clubb.

The Argus reported earlier this month that Newport would get a new M4 road by 2022, with the chosen "black" route taking the motorway from the existing junctions 23 at Magor to 29 at Castleton, going through Newport docks at a cost of £1 billion.

Mr Clubb told the Argus: "We are expecting to send a letter to Welsh Government in the next few hours. The letter sets out why we believe Welsh Government has not acted lawfully, they have not consulted on a substantive range of options and gives them two weeks to respond. In two weeks we will look at that and decide whether we want to proceed to judicial review.

"Welsh Government appears to be totally single minded about this," he said.

The group's letter, due to be published shortly, states that the alternative "blue" route - utilising the existing A48 corridor - was not properly considered and that traffic projections on which the whole relief road scheme is based are "wildly inaccurate".

Last month transport minister Edwina Hart said the black route was chosen following consultation and would involve reclassifying the existing M4 between Magor and Castleton; an M4/M48/B4245 connection; and cycle- and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure.

The owner of Newport docks, Associated British Ports has already claimed that trade could be "severely affected" by the route and throughout the consultation process had argued for a more northerly route.

Discussion of a road to relieve the traffic bottleneck at Newport has been going on since 1991, when Welsh secretary David Hunt announced a new motorway would be built.

In June this year shadow economy minister Rhun ap Iorwerth AM led an Assembly debate calling for the Welsh Government to rule out the black route on environmental and value-for-money grounds, and to instead upgrade the existing A48 corridor, known as the blue route.

A spokesman for Welsh Government said: “We have received the letter and will respond in due course. We are committed to this ambitious infrastructure project, which is of vital importance to the economic prosperity of the country as a whole.

“The plan we have adopted will improve accessibility for people, Welsh goods and services to international markets by addressing capacity and resilience issues on one of the main gateways into Wales.”