South East Wales

Residents in 'limbo' over M4 Brynglas tunnels decision, says Newport AM

Brynglas tunnels
Image caption The M4 around Newport is a well-known traffic bottleneck

Residents are living in "misery" as they await a decision over the future of a M4 pinch-point in south Wales.

Newport West AM Rosemary Butler says people are in limbo while officials consider widening the Brynglas tunnels after a consultation was held in July.

The Welsh government said the decision was taking longer due to the importance and complexity of the issue.

This week a committee of MPs said the motorway has suffered from under-investment and congestion for too long.

"We all agree that something has to be done about the M4," said Ms Butler.

"We have only got one opportunity of getting this right.

"These aren't just houses, they are people's homes but if people are going to have to move I can see why they want to know so they can get on and start planning the rest of their lives."


Mike Gough, a partner in hauliers AE Gough and Sons based in Llandindrod Wells in Powys, told BBC Radio Wales the tunnels had become a major bottleneck.

"It causes our industry massive problems coming into Wales," he said.

"It's only a two-lane road so it is a serious bottleneck at the best of times.

"We have got to show the world that Wales is open and ready to do business.

"I think for anyone wanting to expand or set up their businesses here in Wales we have got to have the infrastructure to allow them to do it."

Image caption The Brynglas tunnels are a bottleneck on the M4 in both directions as it passes around Newport

His comments come after a report from MPs on the Commons Welsh Affairs Committee said under-investment and congestion on the M4 is damaging the Welsh economy.

Paul Cockeran, a local councillor for the Shaftesbury ward which covers the area above the Brynglas tunnels, questioned whether widening the tunnels was the answer rather than moving the road.

"What annoys me more than anything about this is the delay is unforgivable," he told BBC Radio Wales.

He said it had put people in "limbo, they can't sell their houses".

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Media captionAssembly member Rosemary Butler says residents in Newport are living in "misery" while waiting for a decision over the future of the Brynglas tunnels on the M4 which could be widened to ease congestion.

"It's a gateway to Wales. Something has to be done," he added

A Welsh government spokesperson said "The Welsh government undertook the M4 Corridor Enhancement Measures consultation to address the congestion issues on the M4 around Newport that have been highlighted in the national transport plan.

"The Welsh government is following due process and because of the extensive and complex nature of the issues raised during the consultation, it is taking longer in order to ensure that the many responses on this very important issue are given very careful consideration."

The Commons Welsh Affairs Committee report calls the M4 a key strategic road for Wales and the UK more broadly, and essential for the Welsh economy.

A Department for Transport spokesman said it recognised the importance of the M4 to the Welsh economy and that the government was working with the Welsh government to explore funding options for improving the motorway.

Ms Butler said: "I just hope that they can come up with something which is going resolve the situation once and for all and put my constituents out of their misery.

"And some of them are in misery at the moment," she said.

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