This week we return to the theme of emergency. Notably the Welsh first minister has indicated he will not support he M4 extension in South Wales as it is incompatible with the declaration of a climate emergency. So obviously this can be a powerful tool to leverage action from authorities who have been nothing but inconsistent over the realities of the low carbon future we are planning for.
It is felt we should produce a clear statement of intent and expectations from the Town and County council with regards to this on gong situation. This will be the key theme of the next meeting.
Last week, we welcomed to our community gardening talk our colleague Bill Smith from Ruabon who is retired motor mechanic offering extensive experience and knowledge of Electric Vehicles and we expecting him to return this week offering to answer questions and clarify understanding of this emerging technology.
All this and more this Thursday!
First Minister Mark Drakeford is widely expected to announce tomorrow that the proposed M4 relief road south of Newport will not be built.
Although there has been no leak of Mr Drakeford’s decision, which he will announce to AMs in the Senedd, many interested parties have concluded privately that what had been the Welsh Government’s preferred “Black Route” will be rejected.
The rising cost of the project, now estimated to be well over £1bn, coupled with the Welsh Government’s recent declaration of a “climate emergency”, are believed to have swung Mr Drakeford against it.
Bodies like the CBI are strongly in favour of the relief road, complaining that the current M4 is not fit for purpose and sometimes causes serious delays, especially around the Brynglas tunnels. But the proposed relief road is opposed by environmentalists, who say the Gwent Levels, a sensitive wetlands landscape, would be wrecked by having a motorway built through it.
Those against the project also argue that much of the congestion is caused by drivers who use the M4 as a local road, and that it would swallow up the Welsh Government’s entire borrowing allocation, leaving no capacity for worthy schemes elsewhere in Wales.
However, when a public inquiry into the scheme began in early 2017, Welsh Government economist Stephen Bussell gave evidence that the project had a benefit-cost ratio of 2.22, with economic benefits of £2.12bn against a cost of £952m.
The estimated cost of the project subsequently increased.