THE concerns expressed by the owners of Newport Docks over the potential impact to their business of the proposed route for the M4 relief road need to be taken seriously.

Associated British Ports fears the planned route of the new M4 could put many jobs at risk as it would take 1,000 square feet of quayside land and include a bridge that would stop 60 per cent of vessels entering the north dock.

The docks may not be the powerhouse they were in the last century but they still provide employment - directly and indirectly - for around 3,000 people and contribute £190 million a year to the South Wales economy.

ABP's concerns should not be taken lightly.

Whether they launch a legal challenge to the Welsh Government's approval of the so-called black route remains to be seen, but it is clear ministers expect to be challenged in the courts by groups opposed to the relief road.

This newspaper's support for the relief road has not wavered for more than 20 years. We believe it makes sense for Newport and for the wider South Wales economy.

But that does not mean we think opponents should be dismissed.

If ABP's fears can be allayed, even if it means tweaking the plans, then every effort should be made to do so.

Newport needs this relief road, but it also needs jobs and investment at its docks.

Compromises may have to be made to achieve both.