A STEEL firm has u-turned on it's opposition to a proposed 'relief road' on the M4 near Newport.

The inquiry, which started earlier this year, has heard hours of testimony for and against the £1.1 billion Welsh Government project which aims to solve congestion around Newport.

The Welsh Government and other project supporters congestion is simultaneously damaging and holding back the Welsh economy, with a a relief road forming a solution.

Its detractors believe it will cause unacceptable damage to delicate, irreplaceable wildlife habitats, and argue that there are more preferable solutions to transport problems.

Liberty Steel Newport originally objected to the project due on the consequences of losing a parcel of land at the Newport site.

An objection statement from Sanjay Tohani, on behalf of LSN, concluded that land had to be protected to ensure the protection of jobs and avoid the "economic consequences" and ensure the "long term survival" of the company and the UK Steel Industry as a whole - with "sizeable components situated in Wales".

A statement from Mr Tohani in the objection report said the wider British Steel Industry had suffered a "difficult period, with worldwide competition leading to the loss of substantial capacity and jobs and an ongoing threat to the few remaining plants".

"The importance to Wales and the rest of the UK of preserving as much of the remnants of the industry as possible cannot be overstated," he added.

The objection recommended that inspectors adopt the "blue route" which would avoid the immediate area all together and a formal report was drafted for use in the public inquiry.

However, LSN have confirmed they have "reached a compromise" with Welsh Government in which half of the land designated under the compulsory purchase order will be returned at the end of the motorway construction project.

A spokesman for Liberty Steel said this will "allow LSN to keep that part of the site within our long term plans for the expansion of the business".

The spokesman added that the steel firm, in return, has made available a separate plot of land on another section of their site.

"This will be use to replace a salt marsh habitat as part of their environmental mitigation," he said.

"On the basis of this compromise we have withdrawn our initial objection to the order.”

The public inquiry will resume today at the Lysaght Institute on Orb Drive, off Corporation Road, and will hear an official objection from Natural Resources Wales.

Visit m4-newport.persona-pi.com for information.