South East Wales

Newport M4 relief road: Newport Docks to remove objection

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Media captionWhy ABP objected - in 60 seconds

One of the main objectors to the building of the M4 relief road is due to remove its opposition to the plans.

The Welsh Government is set to "sign and seal" an agreement with Newport Docks owners Associated British Ports.

It comes after the government agreed to carry out £135m improvements to the docks.

The works will take the cost of the scheme in Newport to £1.4bn and push back the scheduled opening date of the six-lane motorway to 2024.

The Welsh Government hopes to build a 14 mile (23km) motorway around the city, bypassing the Brynglas Tunnels.

ABP had objected to the plans, saying a bridge over the River Usk would have cut across its site.

As the public inquiry resumed on Wednesday, APB said it had accepted the Welsh Government's plans to overcome its concerns about the impact of the new road.

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Image caption This map shows the route of the proposed £1.4bn M4 relief road

ABP has a special status which means its objection to the proposed motorway stretch carries extra weight at the ongoing public inquiry.

Newport docks, the UK's second biggest steel-handling port which supports about 3,000 jobs, had warned the height of the carriageway would be too low for the biggest ships to get in and out.

The Welsh Government said it had been in "complex negotiations" with ABP and would raise the height of the bridge and provide new buildings for firms operating in the port.

It will also develop the south dock after ABP raised concerns that access for some vessels to the north dock would have been cut off.

ABP's barrister Andrew Tait told the inquiry the agreement was "anticipated to be legally formalised on Friday morning".

In a statement, ABP said the agreement would allow them to relocate services which would have been "severely impacted" if the so-called black route goes ahead.

"The agreement will therefore safeguard jobs and protect an asset of national economic importance," it said.

Ahead of the meeting, CBI Wales said the Welsh economy was suffering because of congestion on the current stretch, claiming a new route would return up to £3bn.

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