Government and police discussing average speed limit for M4
The Welsh Government is discussing with police how best to enforce a 50 miles per hour average speed limit on the M4 around Newport.
Finance minister Rebecca Evans has confirmed that talks have been taking place, and said she hopes a successful resolution will be reached “as soon as possible”.
Ms Evans AM was responding to a series of questions raised in the Senedd by Newport West AM Jayne Bryant.
Last month, the South East Wales Transport Commission recommended abandoning the current M4 variable speed limit system around Newport in favour of a fixed 50mph limit enforced by average speed cameras.
The move was one of three fast-track measures, proposed by the commission, to reduce congestion on the motorway around the city.
The commission was set up by Wales’ first minister, Mark Drakeford, after he decided last June to scrap plans to build an M4 Relief Road, bypassing Newport to the south.
In the Senedd on Tuesday, Ms Bryant – who in June called the relief road decision “deeply disappointing” – suggested an average 50mph limit was optimistic for most commuters.
“I think many people who regularly use this stretch of the motorway would feel it was an unusual day to get up to 50mph,” she said.
The Newport West AM also asked for an update on transport minister Ken Skates’ plans to improve rail links between Ebbw Vale and Newport.
Ms Evans said Transport For Wales (TfW), which is owned by the Welsh Government, had introduced new trains on the route, and had commissioned a study of the Ebbw Vale line.
She said Mr Skates would write a more detailed response to Ms Bryant.
Another issue raised by Ms Bryant concerned new rail tickets prices, introduced by TfW on January 2.
Ms Bryant welcomed cheaper off-peak return tickets between Cardiff and Newport, but said other price changes seemed “illogical” to many people.
In response, Ms Evans said TfW had taken part in a Rail Delivery Group consultation on how fares could be made simpler. Ministers in Wales were now awaiting a formal response by the UK government, “which ultimately holds responsibility for the UK rail fare system”, she added.
Ms Evans said the transport minister would provide Ms Bryant with a more detailed update when details were made available.