Formal objection letter to WG re the M4 motorway extension

 

Dear Madam or Sir,

Re: M4 Corridor around Newport

 Formal objection – please forward to the Welsh Government.

I strongly oppose the proposal to build a new M4 motorway through the beautiful Gwent Levels.

Building another motorway will inevitably cause the burning of yet more fossil fuels. ‘Build it and they will come’ has never been truer than in the case of road building. Far from solving the problems of congestion, new roads are the harbingers of even more congestion. More congestion means more pollution, and more pollution is the very thing we want to avoid.

Pollution hurts our health, our environment and all living things, sometimes terminally in the case of heart and lung disease.

I would like to see the Welsh Government protect our most important places for wildlife such as the Gwent Levels that are already recognised as being nationally important through their designation of SSSI status.

The Gwent Levels is extremely rich in wildlife with otters, water voles, wading birds such as lapwing, snipe, redshank and curlew, 25 rare plants including the world’s smallest flowering plant Wolffia arrihiza and 144 rare species of insects.

Damage to the Gwent Levels will include;

  • A total of 125 hectares of SSSI habitats including grazing marsh and reedbed lost or permanently damaged
  • Permanent damage to 9 Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation
  • Permanent loss of a section of Gwent Wildlife Trusts Magor Marsh Nature Reserve
  • Loss of 2568m of SSSI reen and 9136m of SSSI field ditch which would be infilled or culverted, that are full of nationally rare plants and animals that have taken centuries to reach their current equilibrium.  Replacing these with freshly cut channels cannot be described as a positive impact on biodiversity
  • Habitat and species loss outside of “protected areas” has not been quantified but is also substantial
  • Damage to protected conservation priority species populations and their habitats including European protected species
  • Cumulative loss of land which will leave the remaining spaces unviable for much of the flora and fauna.

Llanwern steelworks, Tesco Warehouse, Gwent Europark, Uskmouth Power Station and the Aluminium and chemical works have already led to the loss of 910ha of wetland habitat (CCW 1991). Further loss has only continued over the last 25 years. The motorway proposals and the anticipated loss of habitats and species are not in isolation. Cumulative impacts of development on this nationally important landscape have already been catastrophic leaving habitats degraded and fragmented and making rare species more vulnerable. We cannot let the degradation of the Gwent Levels continue.

I don’t believe that building a new six-lane motorway through the Gwent Levels ancient landscape is sustainable. The Welsh Government should do all it can to encourage cars off the road by providing greener transport options rather than making more space for traffic. The £1.2 billion (in todays money) would be far better spent on the South East Wales Metro – a plan which has been ready for some years, but which has lacked the political will to build. Reopening small stations along the Magor to Castleton route could start immediately. No-one want to spend time in congestion. A good, frequent, affordable public transport option is what is really needed.

I also don’t believe that building this motorway meets the goals of the Future Generations and Well-Being goals and in fact brings a sad future for the people of Newport surrounded by air and noise pollution with hundreds of acres of their cultural and natural heritage destroyed on their doorstep.

I urge you to stop this new road from being built and protect the natural environment and wildlife of the Gwent Levels.

Please ensure the Welsh Government receives this email so my objection will be considered and counted.

Yours faithfully,

Pippa

Pippa Bartolotti

Candidate for Newport West and lead candidate for SE Wales Regional List

The undeniable sin of destroying wetlands.

otter

Yesterday I visited Magor marshes with Peter Varley ( standing for Newport East). To say the Directors of Gwent Wildlife Trust were depressed was an understatement. They have just had a Compulsory Purchase Order served on them, in order to use this fragile landscape for a 6 lane motorway.

I studied the plans, and in some places this motorway will be banked up an eye watering 18 meters above the land. The associated bridge over the Usk will restrict the height of shipping which will be able to enter Newport Docks, thus jeopardizing the jobs and commercial viability of the dock itself.

It is important not to forget that Llanwern Steelworks was itself built on the wetlands in 1962, so even then the viability of the wetlands was being compromised. To steal yet more of this Outstanding Landscape of Historic Interest is simply wrong. This environment cannot be re-created. The damage would be permanent.

My job as a Green is to protect and enhance life on this planet for all species, including humans. Scientists are in agreement that by continuing to burn fossil fuels we are releasing too much CO2 into the atmosphere, causing the planet to warm at a speed which will be almost impossible to control. This warming, for all our sakes – otters as well as humans – must be halted at once if this planet is to remain habitable.

Building another motorway will inevitably cause the burning of yet more fossil fuels. ‘Build it and they will come’ has never been truer than in the case of road building. Far from solving the problems of congestion, new roads are the harbingers of even more congestion. More congestion means more pollution, and more pollution is the very thing we want to avoid.

Pollution hurts our health, our environment and all living things, sometimes terminally in the case of heart and lung disease.

This 6 lane extension to the M4 is not necessary. If we look at the 19 miles ( yes only 19 miles) of sometimes congested road around the Bryn Glas tunnel area, it is not difficult to see that this is the Magor to Castleton area which is poorly provided for in public transport. Crossing from one side of Newport to another on public transport is a time consuming and tricky business, for no bus goes straight across the city, and worse, you have to walk from one bus station to the other because our planned sensible bus station site – opposite the train station – was sold to out to commercial interests. Inevitably, it has become preferable to face the congestion and buy a car.

SEW metro

The real solution for our ever increasing congestion and growing levels of pollution is a fast, affordable, and frequent public service. The plans for  South East Wales Metro have been drawn up for some years, yet the political will to bring them to reality has been lacking. Conversely the political will to build a 6 lane motorway across site of internationally recognised protected habitat seems to be all too forthcoming.

The cost of this M4 extension will be ( at today’s figures) £1.2 billion for 20 miles of motorway. That is more than enough to pay for an upgrade to the relevant part of the Metro, including the opening of all the little stations along the route.

In summary, this short-sighted vanity project by the Welsh Labour government will mean the devastation of one of our most rare wetland habitats which will have the automatic effect of increasing pollution, whilst depleting the financial reserves which should rightly be used to bring us a much-needed public transport system.

I would like to see us all freed from pollution and congestion. I would like to see Wales pulling its weight to respect the health and well-being of future generations. If you elect me to the Senedd on May 5th you can be sure I will fight to stop this motorway being built, whilst at the same time working for a world class public transport system which we will all be proud to use.