On 16th July 2014, on behalf of the Welsh Government, Edwina Hart AM CStJ MBE Minister for Economy, Science and Transport, publicly announced the Plan for the M4 Corridor around Newport.
In her foreword to the Plan, she states that:
“It is vital for Wales to have a transport system that provides access to jobs and services and improves our nation’s economic competitiveness.
For many years, traffic congestion has been a fact of life for those using the M4 around Newport. Unreliable journey times impact on people’s ability to take up job opportunities and discourages investment from high value businesses. Transport congestion affects our environment and local communities. With increasing traffic levels, these problems are expected to get worse.
To tackle this, we have identified the need for substantial improvements to the network between Magor and Castleton. Working with local communities, we have carried out extensive work and consultation in the development of the draft Plan. A public consultation between September and December 2013 allowed everyone to have their say.
Taking into account the responses to this consultation, we have decided to adopt this Plan, which includes:
• A new section of motorway being built between Junctions 23 and 29 south of Newport; alongside
• Complementary measures, to include:
- Reclassifying the existing M4 between Magor and Castleton;
- An M4/M48/B4245 Connection;
- Providing cycle friendly infrastructure; and
- Providing walking friendly infrastructure.
The Plan is seeking to improve accessibility for people, Welsh goods and services to international markets by addressing capacity and resilience on the main gateway into South Wales, which is the M4 Corridor.
This Plan forms an essential part of our vision for an efficient integrated transport system in South Wales. In parallel with the Plan, Welsh Government is taking forward a Cardiff Capital Region Metro. The Metro is seeking to improve accessibility to local employment sites, educational facilities and services within the Region and is complementary to the Plan for the M4 Corridor around Newport.”
The Minister made her decision after carefully considering the responses to the draft Plan consultation including submitted alternatives, strategic Environmental, Strategic Habitats Regulations, Health Impact and Equality Impact assessments. The results of the consultation and these assessments have provided no compelling reasons why the draft Plan should not be adopted as ‘the Plan’.
The main element of the Plan, a new section of three lane motorway between Magor and Castleton to the south of Newport, is shown on the diagram below.
The diagram above shows how the Black Route (the main element of the Plan) would cross the Gwent Levels Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI’s) and the River Usk Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
The SEA process has shown that the draft Plan, published in September 2013, would have fewer negative environmental effects by promoting improvements in air quality for longer, avoiding a major landfill site and being located further away from the residential area at Dyffryn and the Grade 1 listed Newport Transporter Bridge; whilst meeting the Plan objectives more positively than the other Reasonable Alternatives. This process, and the preparation of ‘the Plan’, took into account consultees’ opinions, including submitted alternatives, and the conclusions of the associated assessments.
The consultation responses show:
• The Black Route attracts the most comments of support, whilst the (‘Reasonable Alternative’) Red Route attracts more comments of opposition than the others;
• Most respondents express a preference for the Black Route over the two reasonable alternatives and Do Minimum scenario; and
• More respondents express opposition than support for each option, but it is important to note that reported numbers may have been influenced by responses submitted as a result of interest groups’ initiatives.
Various alternatives were suggested during the consultation, including a ‘Blue Route’ which combined improvements to the A48 Newport Southern Distributor Road (SDR) and the A4810 Steelworks Access Road (SAR). This alternative has been promoted by various interest groups. Suggested alternatives have been assessed as part of the consultation process. The outcome of the appraisal of alternatives is that none, including the ‘Blue Route’, constitute a ‘Reasonable Alternative’ to the draft Plan.
In accordance with the Post Adoption Procedures set out at Regulation 16 in Part 4 of the SEA Regulations, published on this website are:
• M4 Corridor around Newport - The Plan; and
• M4 Corridor around Newport – The Plan - Strategic Environmental Assessment Post Adoption Statement.
The other M4 Corridor around Newport documents that have informed the decision making process include:
• The Plan - Consultation Participation Report;
• The Plan - Strategic Appraisal of Alternatives Considered during Consultation;
• The Plan - Equality Impact Assessment;
• The Plan - Health Impact Assessment;
• draft Plan - Strategic Habitats Regulations Assessment;
• Strategic Environmental Assessment – Environmental Report;
• Consideration of the options in relation to the Habitats Regulations; and
• Welsh Transport Planning and Appraisal Guidance (WelTAG) Stage 1 (Strategy Level) Report.
The documents that support The Plan are available to download using the links below:
The Plan presents the Welsh Government’s adopted strategy for addressing transport related problems on the M4 Corridor around Newport.
This report summarises the results of the draft Plan Consultation and associated engagement activities, which informed the Welsh Government’s decision making on its Plan for M4 Corridor around Newport. Public consultation on the draft Plan, was carried out in accordance with the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes (Wales) Regulations 2004 (SI 2004 No 1656) (“the SEA Regulations”), and closed on 16 December 2013.
SEA is a process that provides for the high level protection of the environment, by ensuring the integration of environmental considerations into the preparation of plans and programmes and to contribute to the promotion of sustainable development and environmental protection.
The SEA Environmental Report formed part of the draft Plan Consultation and comments received have been taken into account in the SEA Statement.
The Welsh Government has specific and general duties in relation to equality and human rights, in accordance with the Equality Act 2010, The Government of Wales Act 2006 and The Human Rights Act 1998. An EqIA Report formed part of the draft Plan Consultation and has been updated to take into account comments received from the Welsh Government’s Fairer Futures department and Department of Economy, Transport and Science’s Equality Support Unit and others. This also takes into consideration the equality data collected as part of the draft Plan Consultation.
WelTAG states that HIA is a mandatory requirement of transport appraisal. HIA is a process that considers how the health and well-being of a population may be affected by a proposed action, be it a policy, programme, plan or a change to the organisation or delivery of a particular public service. A HIA Report formed part of the draft Plan Consultation and has been updated to take into account comments received from the Wales Health Impact Assessment Support Unit (WHIASU) and others.
HRA is a legal requirement under the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC) for certain plans and programmes. In England and Wales, this is implemented through the Habitats Regulations. HRA is a process that considers the potential effects of plans and programmes on European Sites.
A Consideration of the draft Plan with Regard to the Habitats Regulations formed part of the draft Plan Consultation and comments received from Natural Resources Wales and others have been taken into account to prepare this Strategic HRA.
Two Reasonable Alternatives were considered as part of the draft Plan consultation, whilst other suggested alternatives that were put forward during the consultation have also been taken into account within this document, which has informed the Welsh Government’s decision making on its Plan for the M4 Corridor around Newport.
Welsh Transport Planning and Appraisal Guidance is a transport appraisal tool applicable to transport projects, plans and programmes in Wales. The Welsh Government requires that major transport initiatives seeking government funding are appraised with this guidance. The M4 Corridor around Newport, as a strategy, plan or programme, has been appraisal at a strategy level. The primary aim of the appraisal at this strategy level is to filter and reduce the number of options to be progressed for further appraisal. This document provided supporting information during the draft Plan Consultation and helped shape the development of the Plan for the M4 Corridor around Newport.