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Leadership contest delays update on M4 relief road alternatives

15 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Composite image showing Jeremy Miles (left), Vaughan Gething and an artist’s impression of active travel corridors in Newport.

Nicholas Thomas, local democracy reporter

The contest to replace Mark Drakeford as Wales’ first minister has delayed a report on plans for a major overhaul of a city’s public transport.

A series of new railway stations will be built around Newport, providing a “network of alternatives” for commuters fed up with motorway congestion.

But an annual progress report on that work has been delayed, and is not likely to be published until after the next first minister appoints cabinet members, the Local Democracy Reporting Service understands.

The Burns Delivery Unit was set up in the wake of Mr Drakeford cancelling the M4 relief road, tasked with overseeing several public transport projects for the city.

The two men vying to replace him in the top job – Vaughan Gething and Jeremy Miles – have both been supportive of the masterplan for improving public transport in Newport and ending reliance on the M4.

Relief road 

Speaking during a recent BBC debate, both men distanced themselves from reviving the relief road project.

Mr Gething said “that ship has sailed” and backed plans for rail investment, while Mr Miles noted the Burns unit’s work and said he would not build a relief road even if the Welsh Government had the funds.

But progress on the public transport alternatives to the scrapped motorway project is unlikely to be made public until after the next first minister appoints his team.

That will include a new head of the nation’s transport brief, after deputy climate change minister Lee Waters indicated that he would be stepping down.

Severn Tunnel Junction

Ongoing projects for 2024 include developing new bus, bike and walking routes between Newport and Cardiff and to Severn Tunnel Junction; a bike hire scheme for Newport, and pilot schemes for “pay as you go” bus and rail services.

It is hoped that the series of new railway stations for Newport, along with upgrades to freight tracks to accommodate passenger trains, will all be completed by 2029, according to last year’s report.

Asked about the delay to this year’s publication, a Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We await the latest progress report from the Burns Delivery Board chairs on their progress over the last year, which has included public consultation on proposed improvements to the South Wales Mainline and new stations on it.”

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
27 days ago

A network of alternatives…something we can only dream about up here…

Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
27 days ago

Don’t bother with new roads. Repair and maintain current infrastructure.

We need a new network of electric buses.

The TrawsCymru T1 service is been a success with its new electric bus fleet.
There is another service planned in NorthWest Wales.

The old petrol & diesel combustion engines are just about knackered and don’t produce very smooth ride conditions, economy or reliability.
Electric charging technology for private motoring is going to take time and money to implement, so public transport must be the priority.

27 days ago

Many big business’s decide to not invest in Wales because there is no reliable infrastructure in and out of South Wales. Trains are not viable because of the Severn tunnel. Ports aren’t bug enough and the main m4 road in and out isn’t reliable because of the bryn glas tunnels.
Would you like more business to come to South Wales to emply people and bring money to the area to invest in electric buses and renew the existing roads and infrastructure?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
27 days ago

Great excuse, terrible name…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
27 days ago

Where’s Mel Brooks, somewhere behind them…a right pair of green horns…

27 days ago

…and, by way of a tenuous ‘engineering to maths’ link (my apologies) , today is ‘Pi day’: a celebration of the mathematics number… and the Cymro William Jones is at the heart of it, a real positive. Good article on beeb website regarding it today. Thought it would be a good one for NC to run, but not seen owt on here …?

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