The Welsh Liberal Democrats have called upon the Welsh Labour Government to develop a sustainable solution to M4 congestion.
On Saturday, at the party's Autumn Conference, Welsh Liberal Democrat members voted to support a solution to develop the A48 Southern Distributor Road to move local traffic off the M4 and reduce congestion, and ruled out supporting a Â£1 billion relief road south of Newport. This solution would form part of a greater transport strategy for the South-East Wales region through improving rail and bus services as well.
Commenting, Eluned Parrott said;
"Addressing congestion on the M4 is an important issue. However, a Â£1bn relief road is not the right way to go about it. There are other, more cost effective and environmentally friendly, ways of relieving pressure on the M4.
"We are extremely proud that Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government have fought to allow Wales to have borrowing powers. These significant powers should be used to benefit all of Wales.
"Wales' transport issues are simply not confined to the M4. It is unwise to spend such a large proportion of money on a relief road, potentially diverting funding away from other projects such as improving the A55 in North Wales, providing an hourly rail service on the Cambrian Line and investing properly in the South Wales Metro.
"The relief road also raises serious concerns over environmental impacts. It could result in the potential devastation of four Sites of Special Scientific Interest, as well as affecting nature reserves. It would also threaten biodiversity in the Gwent Levels.
"It is the case that 43% of journeys made on the M4 are fewer than 20 miles, and as a result travellers would benefit from a greater provision of train and bus services.
"A project to develop the A48 Southern Distributor Road and the A4810 Steelworks Access Road near Llanwern Steelworks, to move local traffic off the M4, would form part of a wider strategy to develop transport for the South-East Wales region. This would be far more cost-effective and deliver greater benefits to commuters and travellers.
"The Welsh Liberal Democrats will be responding to the consultation on the M4 in due course reflecting our party's views on this matter. We believe that it is time for Welsh Labour to step up and consider more cost-effective and eco-friendly alternatives to the relief road."