THE leader of Newport City Council says a relief road is still the best option to relieve congestion on the M4 around Newport, following the announcement of a fresh public consultation on the issue.

The Welsh Government has announced a 13-week public consultation on how to improve traffic flow on the M4 between Magor and Castleton which will run until June 6.

Suggestions include four major highways proposals, which are a new dual-carriageway to the south of Newport, improving roundabouts and junctions on the Southern Distributor Road (SDR), a new flyover on the SDR, and widening the motorway between junctions 24 and 29 to create four lanes each way, with two new tunnels at Brynglas.

But Newport council leader Matthew Evans says a relief road - like the one that was shelved in 2009 - is still the best option.

While Cllr Evans welcomed the Welsh Government's consultation - and called for the delay in sorting out problems on the M4 to be dealt with "as a matter of urgency" - he said he would not want to see any of the current M4 access roads closed.

"The Brynglas Tunnels and the two-lane section of the motorway are only part of the M4 problems round Newport," he said. "Other issues include the gradient and tight bend which make the M4 between J27 and J28 outside normal motorway specifications.

"We need to think very carefully about whether a preferred solution actually solves enough of the problems without creating additional difficulties for motorists and businesses."

He added that traffic congestion on the M4 could not be allowed to become an obstacle to investment in a "strategically significant Welsh city".

Cabinet member for regeneration Cllr Ed Townsend added that any scheme which included the Brynglas Tunnels should incorporate work on the M4 bridge just before Brynglas.

To take part in the public consultation, visit