THE body tasked with finding solutions to congestion on the M4 around Newport will begin to consult with the public next month.

First Minister Mark Drakeford told AMs today that the commission led by Lord Terry Burns - announced in the aftermath of the decision in June not to go ahead with the M4 Relief Road - "has been working hard over the summer".

In response to a question from Conservative AM Paul Davies, Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Mr Drakeford said: “It (the commission) is working actively, it is recruiting the other members of the commission we need - we will announce those name very shortly.

“It will hold its first public engagement event next month, and I expect the next set of proposals from the review will be with us by the end of this calendar year.”

The abandoned ‘black route’ for the M4 Relief Road was a 14-mile stretch of motorway to run south of Newport and bypassing the often-congested Brynglas Tunnels.

Mr Drakeford was also quizzed by Mr Davies First Minister's Questions in the Senedd, regarding the money available to the commission.

He replied: “It has first call on the £1 billion that was originally set aside for the M4 relief road.

“Lord Burns made it clear that that did not mean he expectd to spend a billion pounds.

“He wasn’t aiming to spend a billion pounds - it doesn’t mean it is an ambition for him to do so.”

Mr Davies then asked: “What radical ideas did your government have in mind when it declared the climate emergency?”

Mr Drakeford revealed the Welsh Government will enforce 20mph zones in urban areas and will be introducing regulations to tackle agricultural pollution in January next year.

Alongside the projected £1.4 billion cost of the planned relief road, Mr Drakeford also cited the environmental impact it would have as a motivating factor in his decision not to proceed with the project.

“I attach very significant weight to the fact that the Project would have a substantial adverse impact on the Gwent Levels SSSIs and their green network and wildlife, and on other species, and a permanent adverse impact on the historic landscape of the Gwent Levels,” he wrote in a letter outlining his reasons.

The Welsh Government declared a “climate emergency” in April.