Anti-M4 relief road petition nears 20,000 signatures
A petition calling for the planned M4 relief road to be scrapped is nearing 20,000 signatures.
With a decision on the long-awaited scheme expected to be made in the coming weeks, environmental campaigners have made a fresh call to first minister Mark Drakeford to throw it out.
And a petition calling for the project to be scrapped has been signed by 19,032 people
Mr Drakeford has said, while he has received the report of the public inquiry into the scheme, he will not make a decision on the project until after the Newport West by-election on Thursday, April 4.
The petition’s wording reads: “The current plans to extend the M4 motorway will put otters, rare bees and wildflowers at risk.
“It would cut across the ‘Amazon Rainforest’ of Wales, the Gwent Levels, which is a haven for wildlife.
“Traffic around Newport needs to be improved but it would be better for Wales and the environment if the Welsh Government invests in public transport instead.
“If we want to protect the environment for future generations we need to come up with alternatives to big polluting motorways.
“The Assembly’s own environmental regulator and advisory body, Natural Resources Wales, is against these plans.”
Campaign to Protect Rural Wales (CPRW) national executive and joint chairman of CALM Robert Hepworth said: “The motorway will be the death-knell of the outstanding and unique landscape of the Gwent Levels formed over thousands of years.
“It is not just the intrusion of a six-lane motorway, but the development that a bypass will attract onto the Levels.
“CPRW specifically asked for guarantees to stop such development from the Welsh Government at the inquiry.
“We got absolutely no assurances at all. Developers are ready to carve up the rest of the Levels. It’s now or never if we want to save them.”
And Richard Jones of Natural Resources Wales said: “We have continued to work with the Welsh Government and have provided detailed advice since the closing of the public inquiry into the M4 Corridor around Newport scheme in early 2018.
“We have outstanding objections in place in relation to the likely impact the scheme will have on the Gwent Levels Site of Special Scientific Interest, bats, flood risk, and historic landscape, and presented our evidence in relation to these at the public inquiry.
“We will continue to work with the Welsh Government with the aim of minimising these impacts throughout the development of the scheme.”