WITH a decision on the M4 relief road potentially just days away, a campaign group has written to first minister Mark Drakeford urging him to reject the scheme.

Mr Drakeford has said, while he has received the inspector's report on the long-awaited project, he would not make a decision on it until after the Newport West by-election on Thursday, April 4, to avoid influencing the outcome of the vote.

So, with just days to go until voters go to the polls, a decision on the scheme could be imminent.


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And now pressure group the Campaign Against the Levels Motorway - or CALM - has written to the first minister urging him to reject the so-called 'black route', which would involve a new stretch of motorway running through the Gwent Levels, bypassing the Brynglas Tunnels.

In the letter the group's joint-chairman and woman Robert Hepworth and Catherine Linstrum said: "Our members had been reassured by the objective and forward-looking approach you took towards this difficult issue before and during your election campaign, within the constraints of cabinet responsibility.

"We hope that your vision for a Wales fit for future generations will continue to persuade you that the black route is not the way forward.

"The financial costs of the proposal are eye watering, and look set to be well above £2 billion."

They added building the new stretch of road would not solve congestion, but rather generate more traffic, and studies had shown Bristol and the south west of England would reap the overwhelming majority of the benefits of the scheme, while the south Wales area would see almost no increase in access to jobs.

The letter continues: "The construction of the black route would generate huge additional carbon emissions over the next two decades, which is completely incompatible with the crisis we now face both in Wales and the entire world in curbing climate change.

"Wales has wonderful pioneering legislation in the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act which is rightly interpreted by (future generations commissioner) Sophie Howe and many others to mean that the black route cannot be a 21st century option for improving our transport."

Saying halting the project would be "a groundbreaking decision that would set a new agenda for Wales, and hopefully inspire other countries to follow suit", the letter continued: "As well as flying in the face of all our responsibilities to reduce climate change, the black route would irreparably damage the Gwent Levels, one of the most precious and unique places in Wales.

"Fourteen miles of six-lane motorway would plough through a Landscape of Outstanding Historic Interest and four Sites of Special Scientific Interest, including the only site in Wales where the Common Crane has nested in the last 400 years."

The letter also highlighted impact on tourism and farming, and urged the first minister to instead consider alternatives such as further investment in public transport.

A petition set up by CALM calling for the scheme to be blocked has been signed by 19,128 people.