The National Assembly for Wales’ Petition Committee yesterday debated a petition put forward by the South Wales Chamber of Commerce, calling for the Welsh Government to give the go ahead for the much talked about M4 Relief Road.
The South Wales Chamber of Commerce, which represents firms of all sizes and sectors across South, Mid and West Wales, have been encouraging business to sign the petition since March last year, amassing over 1,400 signatures from frustrated business and individuals from across the country.
The National Assembly for Wales’ Petition Committee considered the petition, taking in to account key points raised by the South Wales Chamber of Commerce on behalf on their business partner organisations.
The First Minister recently issued a Written Statement stating that he expects to make a decision on the project during the first week of June.
Heather Myers, CEO, South and Mid Wales Chamber of Commerce, said:
“Our members have made it clear, through our petition, that enough is enough, and a solution to the daily congestion on this vital stretch of motorway needs to be delivered.
“The new motorway would bring positive change and is expected to reduce transport costs and travel time, while giving a boost to economic growth through opening up employment sites and making it easier for visitors to travel to Wales.
“The business community, who have been calling for a relief road around Newport for 30 years, will feel let down if the First Minister fails to support the project, especially if no viable alternative solution is put forward.
“We need a real deliverable plan, not just a vague aspiration that will lay untouched for another three decades.
“If the Welsh Government can’t commit to a viable strategy, South Wales businesses and the Welsh economy of which those businesses are a key part of will continue to stagnate.”
Research by the Chamber of Commerce has shown that a wide range of businesses are affected by the congestion on the existing M4.
The haulage industry for example must expect a “worst case scenario” everyday as delays occur so frequently. This limits the number of drops they can expect to do and regularly incur financial penalties for late deliveries.
In addition, venues such as hotels, stadiums and conference facilities across South Wales are also affected by the unpredictability of the traffic. Event organisers for UK-wide events are choosing not to organise their events in South Wales, particularly for one-day events where the need for attendees to arrive and return home in good time is paramount to the event’s success.
The main concern from the tourism sector is that regular delays around Newport do not give a good first impression to tourists coming into Wales from England.