M4 jams 'would embarrass Victorians' - CBI Wales

M4 jam

The new chairman of the CBI in Wales has said congestion on the M4 would "embarrass" the Victorians.

Mike Plaut said infrastructure problems needed to be sorted out and competitors "must be laughing" at the time it was taking to build the £1bn motorway relief road around Newport.

Mr Plaut said Wales had huge potential but was not quite reaching it and it would take "very little" to transform.

Politicians of all parties needed to look at new ideas, he said.

They needed a different way of doing things, which had worked elsewhere.

Mr Plaut said the Severn bridge tolls were "out of Ark" and there were also problems with the A55 in north Wales.

But he said they were not difficult problems to solve.

'Great politicians'

Devolution had not delivered - the M4 relief road was first proposed 25 years ago - and Wales would lose more business unless it was tackled and politicians showed courage.

"We've got great politicians - who need to be released to do the right things for the right reasons; they need permission to take risks," he added in an interview with BBC Wales.

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Media captionMike Plaut says infrastructure problems could be solved

Mr Plaut, who has a family business supplying the hotel industry, said the south Wales metro project was a long way off and while it looked good on paper the M4 should be a priority.

"Two thirds of Welsh exports depend on the M4 - there's no alternative. Who else in the world would have their major artery blocked in two places like we do? It's suicidal in industrial terms."

Mr Plaut, in an interview with BBC Wales At Work also had a message for Westminster politicians, saying the UK Government also needed to get on with building the new Heathrow runway and progressing rail electrification, both of which would benefit Wales.

Wales At Work is on BBC Radio Wales on Thursday 21 January at 18:30 GMT and later on the BBC iPlayer.

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