Monmouth Liberal Democrats have slammed the decision by Labour's Transport Minister to choose the 'black route' for the M4 relief road. The £1bn scheme is the largest capital investment programme ever announced by the Welsh government.
The favoured route was one of three options put forward for consultation last September.
The Welsh Liberal Democrats prefer the 'blue route', which is the redevelopment of the A48 Southern Distributor Road and A4810 Steelworks Access Road. This route was put forward as a fourth option for consultation last September.
The statement by the Labour Minister claims that no reasons were provided during the consultation process objecting to the 'black route'. This ignores environmental concerns raised during the consultation process by Friends of the Earth, the RSPB and Sustrans, and economic concerns raised by the Federation of Small Businesses, as well as the submission by the Welsh Liberal Democrats.
Veronica German, Parliamentary spokesperson for Monmouth said:
"This decision is a huge mistake, and completely flies in the face of the environmental and economic issues that have been raised by the Welsh Liberal Democrats and many other organisations throughout this process.
"The consultation process appears to have been nothing more than a sham. The Minister's claim that there were no reasons why the 'black route' could not be adopted completely ignores evidence provided to her by the RSPB, Sustrans and the Federation of Small Businesses."
Alison Willott, Chair of Monmouth Liberal Democrats said:
"There are still huge questions surrounding the economic benefit of this development. Investing the Welsh Government's entire borrowing powers into one single road leaves no money left for other transport projects like the South Wales Metro, which can provide much greater economic benefit for the whole area.
"Our proposed alternatives are far less expensive, less likely to damage vast swathes of our environment and are academically recommended. It's shocking that the Welsh Labour Minister is remaining blinkered, ignoring these credible proposals and ploughing ahead regardless."