Newport Council calls on Welsh Government to ‘consider’ M4 relief road referendum
Emily Gill, local democracy reporter
Newport council will call on the Welsh Government to “carefully consider” any calls for a referendum or consultation on the M4 relief road, but will not demand one.
The original motion put forward by Newport’s Conservative group to the full council wanted the Welsh Government to reconsider the decision to scrap the £1.3 billion relief road.
The decision not to go ahead with the road was made in 2019 by first minister Mark Drakeford due to environmental concerns and increasing estimated costs.
The relief road proposal has been a contentious issue around Newport since the plans were first proposed in 1991.
Proposing the motion, the Newport Conservative leader, Cllr Matthew Evans, said that a referendum “would show the strength of feeling of our residents one way or another”.
He said: “This is a real opportunity to say actions speak louder than words.”
Over the years there have been different proposals but forward but Cllr Evans said that this motion referred to the ‘black route’, which would be south of Newport between Junctions 23 and 29.
However, Cllr Jane Mudd of the Labour party immediately proposed an amendment to the motion.
Cllr Mudd’s amendment said: “This council asks the Welsh Government to carefully consider any calls for an advisory referendum or other public consultation within the Newport Local Authority boundary area within the context of social economic and environmental factors which underpin the Wellbeing of Future Generations Wales Act 2015.”
Cllr Mudd said: “We’ve had an opportunity to have our say many times. Covid has changed our lives there’s no going back.
“We can change our lives for the better. The way we live the way we work this has all changed and we’ve all had plenty of time to think and to think again.
Cllr Chris Evans of Newport Independent Party said it was important to protect the environment and wildlife and that “we cannot carry on making the same mistakes”.
The full council agreed to back Cllr Mudd’s amendment.