Welsh First Minister, Mark Drakeford, has announced the M4 ‘black route’ around Newport will not go ahead.
The proposed road was dropped on the grounds of cost and environmental impact. The expected cost of the road would be £1.4 billion. The route would go through an area of the ‘Gwent Levels’, a network of waterways that has been dubbed “Wales’ equivalent of the Amazon Rainforest” by the Gwent Wildlife Trust.
The Minister said:
I recognise the inspector’s conclusions. However, I attach greater weight than the inspector did to the adverse impacts that the project would have on the environment.
In particular, I attach very significant weight to the fact that the project would have a substantial adverse impact on the Gwent Levels SSSIs and their reen network and wildlife, and on other species, and a permanent adverse impact on the historic landscape of the Gwent Levels.
The decision was welcomed by environmental groups and the Wellbeing of Future Generations Commissioner, but criticised by business groups who said it would negatively impact new business in Wales.
There will now be a six-week window for the decision to be legally challenged.