Wales Election 2016

M4 relief road 'dead in water' under Labour/Plaid, say Tories


Plans to build an M4 relief road would be "dead in the water" if Labour and Plaid Cymru are in coalition after May's assembly election, the Welsh Conservatives have claimed.

Labour wants to build a new motorway south of Newport to ease congestion.

But the Tories said it would not happen under a Labour-Plaid government as Plaid are opposed to the relief road.

Labour called the claims "scare-mongering" and Plaid said the Tories are split on the issue.

A final decision on the M4 will not be taken until after the 5 May election.

There are disputes over which route to use, and over the cost - the latest estimate puts the Welsh Government's preferred route at £1.1bn.

'Red line'

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said: "Make no mistake, the M4 relief road is dead in the water if Labour do a deal with Plaid Cymru after the election in May.

Image copyright Welsh Government
Image caption Red, black and purple routes were considered but opponents wanted an alternative blue route

"The nationalists have already made it a red line issue, and it's pretty clear that [Plaid leader] Leanne Wood will prop Labour up yet again for a sniff of power."

Mr Davies has already promised "diggers in the ground" within 12 months, although the party is sceptical about the Welsh Government's preferred "black" route - the Conservatives want a review of other possible routes.

But Rhiannon Passmore, the Labour candidate for Islwyn, said: "People and businesses in south east Wales who are keen for this ambitious development to happen as soon as possible will not thank the Tories for this needless scaremongering."

Plaid Cymru Transport spokesman Rhun ap Iorwerth said: "The Tories seem very confused about plans for the M4.

"They are totally split in the assembly on whether or not to support Labour's black route which is estimated to cost in excess of £1.2bn."

He added: "Plaid Cymru has been clear throughout - sorting the Newport bottleneck is a priority.

"Let's get it done as soon as possible, with a quicker, more cost-effective plan that also leaves money available to spend on transport in other parts of Wales.

The scheme would be funded by new borrowing powers available to Welsh ministers after the election. Ministers would be able to borrow up to £500m to spend on capital projects.

The Liberal Democrats are opposed to the M4 project and say the money should be spent on 20,000 new homes instead.

UKIP are in favour of going ahead with the cheaper "blue" route.

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