NEW M4 DECISION
In the wake of the Labour Government’s decision to press ahead with the Black Route, readers may be interested in taking a look at a 135-page government report which was put on the internet last month.
It looks at the responses received for the various options which went out to the public for their views.
The so-called M4 Consultation Participation Report shows that a majority of respondents opposed all of the routes that the government consulted on, including the favoured Black Route. It appears Black Route attracted more support than any other route but crucially the Blue Route – put forward by transport expert Professor Stuart Cole – was not included in this consultation. That makes the consultation flawed.
I’m confident that if the Blue Route had been included, it would have attracted the most support in conjunction with public transport measures such as the South-East Wales Metro, the blueprint for which includes Newport.
The Blue Route would make use of existing roads like the A48 and the A4810 Steelworks Access Road which is a cheaper alternative than the £1bn M4 and could also be delivered quicker.
The Minister’s decision is now expected to face a legal challenge and the battle against the Black Route is certain to continue for many years. I am not convinced that the Black Route represents the quick solution that many people have called for.
I’ve got no problem with a Minister acting decisively but that’s no good if the wrong decision is made and if there has not been full scrutiny.
The responses document can be viewed by clicking on http://www.m4newport.com/assets/consultation-participation-report.pdf
I also wanted to refer to the recent announcement by the UK Coalition Government that it plans to extend licensing for fracking for shale gas and coal bed methane.
This could potentially impact on areas of Gwent around and to the east of Newport and my fear is that there may work near people’s homes.
Hydraulic fracturing or fracking involves high-pressure chemicals being pumped into shale and old coal seams thousands of feet below ground to fracture the rock and release gases.
This process wastes millions of gallons of water while having the potential to contaminate underground water supplies and cause minor earthquakes.
Plaid Cymru has called for moratorium on this old-fashioned exploration for fossil fuels. The Party of Wales believes that if we’re serious about safeguarding the environment for future generations, it is important we reject fracking and look forward to a greener Wales that also creates work and clean energy.