Wales politics

M4 relief road: £44m spent on 'development costs'

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThis video reveals the possible route of the M4 relief road

A total of £44m has been spent by the Welsh Government on "development costs" preparing for and running an inquiry into proposals for an M4 relief road.

The costs included traffic modelling, environmental surveys, design work and £11.5m on funding the inquiry itself.

A Welsh Government spokesman called it "proportionate with other major infrastructure projects".

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said on Thursday he understood the inquiry report would back the scheme.

The report of the 13-month public inquiry was delivered in November.

First Minister Mark Drakeford will decide whether to press ahead with the 14-mile (23km) project south of Newport.

The Welsh Government said development activities covered "everything necessary to sufficiently develop the proposals to inform a decision whether to proceed to detailed design and construction".

According to the Welsh Government, development activities include:

  • Design of road alignment, structures, drainage, utility diversions, environmental mitigation and landscaping
  • Traffic modelling to test the need for the scheme, considering other schemes such as the Metro and the A465 improvements, plus planned new housing
  • Environmental surveys on ecology, air quality, water quality, flooding assessment, visual impact and archaeology
  • Ground surveys to minimise construction risks
Image caption Protesters gathered outside the Senedd in December in opposition to the M4 Relief Road

The Welsh Government is proposing building a road between Magor and Castleton, which would include a bridge across the River Usk, as well as major remodelling of junctions 23 and 29 of the M4.

AMs have been promised a vote and there remains cross-party political opposition to the route.

Hundreds of people attended a demonstration outside the Senedd in December to oppose the road.

Conservationists say it would be a "direct attack" on "Wales' own Amazon rainforest", the Gwent Levels.

However, dozens of businesses and council leaders have called on the Welsh Government to press ahead with the road.

More on this story