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Friends of the Earth Cymru

Making life better for people by inspiring solutions to environmental problems

Ymddiheuriadau. Dim ond yn y Saesneg mae datganiadau i'r wasg Cyfeillion y Ddaear i'w cael. Am ragor o wybodaeth gweler ein Cynllun yr Iaith Gymraeg.

Protest to greet new M4 exhibition

Members of the Campaign Against the Levels Motorway (CALM) will demonstrate today (Wednesday) outside the opening in Nash village of the Assembly Government exhibition about its ‘New M4 Project’ to build 24km of motorway across the Gwent Levels to the south of Newport.

The CALM Alliance, which is made up of local community councils, environmental groups and individuals [1] objects to the proposed road because:

The group wants the Assembly Government to pay more attention to alternative ways of easing predicted congestion on the M4.  In 1999 consultants acting for the Assembly Government concluded that steps to reduce the demand for car journeys plus improved public transport could be a successful alternative to major roadbuilding. [4]

Julian Branscombe, Chief Executive of the Gwent Wildlife Trust and Secretary of the CALM Alliance commented,

“The Gwent Levels is an enormously important and special place for wildlife, and people.  Construction of this road would cost hundreds of millions of pounds and would have a massive impact on important wild places and on the quality of life of hundreds of people on the Levels. We will be turning out today to show united opposition to the Assembly Government’s plans.”

Julian Rosser, Director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, a member of the CALM Alliance, added:

“All the studies show that building new roads increases traffic numbers.  This road to nowhere is a huge diversion from the Assembly Government doing what needs to be done for the travelling public in Wales: investment in public transport and other measures to reduce road traffic.  It is a disgrace that the Assembly Government has done nothing to address increasing congestion on the M4 and is now simply dusting off a scheme proposed by John Redwood in the early nineties.  The road would not just be a scar on the Gwent Levels but on the reputation of Wales as a world leader in sustainable development.”


[1] The members of the CALM Alliance are:
Bishton Community Council
Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW)
Coedkernew Community Council
CPRW Newport & Valleys Branch
Friends of the Earth Cymru
Gwent Wildlife Trust
Gwent Ornithological Society
Goldcliff Community Council
Llanwern Community Council
Magor with Undy Community Council
Marshfield Community Council
Nash Community Council
Newport Friends of the Earth
Penhow Community Council
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Wentloog Community Council
WING & Monmouth Moth and Butterfly Group
WWF – Cymru

[2] The Gwent Levels are designated as several Sites of Special Scientific Interest for the plants and animal life found in the drainage ditches, known as reens, which have been maintained in the area since Roman times. 

[3] The Gwent Levels are on the Register of Landscapes of Outstanding Historic Interest in Wales (CADW, CCW, International Council on Monuments and Sites).

[4] “Overall, the main conclusion is that there would seem to be two ways in which relief could be provided from the effects of increasing traffic on the M4 around Newport. The first is through the construction of the M4 Relief Road; this is economically beneficial but would cause environmental damage to nationally important resources and would encourage more car trips. The second is a strategy combining some car restraint with significantly improved public transport to encourage mode switching, an approach which is consistent with the general aim of national transport policies.” Common Appraisal Framework Study: Summary Report, Ove Arup and Partners, April 1999.

Contact details:

Friends of the Earth Cymru
33 Castle Arcade Balcony
CF10 1BY

Tel: 029 2022 9577
Fax: 029 2022 8775
Email: [email protected]


26 April 2006
Friends of the Earth Cymru

Last modified: 25.5.2006