The Welsh government has rejected reports that a planned M4 relief road in south Wales could become the UK’s second toll motorway, as reported in two national newspapers yesterday.
The Times and the Independent reported that the project would feature as part of the Treasury’s comprehensive spending review announcement, scheduled for June.
But according to the BBC, the devolved administration in Cardiff has now said it has “no plans to introduce tolls on any Welsh road” – and that the possibility had not formed part of any discussion with central government in Whitehall.
The relief road project, it was reported yesterday, would be underwritten by the Treasury, allowing the Welsh government to borrow the money required for the scheme, previously estimated at £1bn.
The new dual carriageway would run for 14 miles between junction 23 and junction 29 of the M4, the Independent said, in order to reduce congestion on the outskirts of Newport. The project was initially mooted in 2004, but was eventually shelved as a result of spiralling cost estimates.
In response to the reports yesterday, Nick Payne of the Road Haulage Association told BBC Radio Wales that the M6 Toll, Britain’s first toll motorway, had not been “massively successful”. He also questioned whether Welsh hauliers could afford the toll, on top of the existing charge in place for the use of the Severn bridges.
Image by GianniM (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons