NEWPORT East AM and opponent of the M4 relief road John Griffiths has said other measures including closing junctions around Newport should also be considered.

The former Welsh government minister, who is opposed to the relief road plan irrespective of route, said even the proposed alternative M4 route would cause noise and pollution around Newport.

In July last year the Welsh Government revealed they had opted for the £1bn 'black route', one of three proposed options for the new road, despite opposition from cross-party AMs and environmental organisations.

The route plans to take the motorway from the existing junctions 23 at Magor to 29 at Castleton, going through part of the Newport docks.

But the plan came under attack from Friends of the Earth who launched a judicial review of the scheme. In November a watchdog probe was also launched after it was revealed the Welsh Government owns millions of pounds in property and land along the chosen 'black route'.

Proponents of the alternative 'blue route', including Plaid Cymru’s Lindsay Whittle AM, have said it would be much cheaper, costing as little as £380m. The route would see the Southern Distributor Road south of Newport upgraded.

But Mr Griffiths today said upgrading the SDR would bring a large increase in the volume of traffic, as well as noise and pollution problems for nearby communities.

Instead, the AM said there are many other parts of the relief road “equation” which should be looked at including better public transport, changing habits or closing a junction.

Mr Griffiths said he wants to see greater “smart travel planning” which involves providing more comprehensive information on public transport “to get people out of their cars”.

He said: “Closing junctions has always been part of the equation when the issues around the M4 have been discussed.

“As we’ve seen with the closing of the Caerleon junction, which was closed quite a few years ago, this can have a very significant impact.

“But we also need better traffic management and much better public transport.”

Mr Griffiths said he is giving his full support to developing the South Wales Metro. He said: “It is a strong commitment from the Welsh Government and I’d like to see it going ahead as soon as possible.”