The massive disruption and additional cost to industry caused by the closure of the M4’s Brynglas tunnel has amplified calls for a Newport relief road to help alleviate pressure along this vital trade corridor. The Freight Transport Association (FTA) believes that the recent high-profile lorry fire exposes the fragility of transport infrastructure in and out of South Wales.

Ian Gallagher, FTA’s Policy Manager for Wales, said:“There is a desperate need for Welsh Government to revisit the relief road that it pulled the plug on in 2009. Businesses in South Wales need decent, reliable and safe roads to function properly; restrictions along the M4 caused by incidents leave these businesses gasping for air.”

Rather worryingly, Welsh Government has hinted that lorries carrying dangerous goods could be banned from the Brynglas Tunnel and routed elsewhere. Gallagher concluded: “Banning lorries carrying dangerous goods through this relatively short, and therefore lower risk, tunnel would be a knee-jerk reaction which avoids the real issues of infrastructure investment.

“Besides the fact that the lorry in question was not even carrying dangerous goods, let’s be clear here, this is not a ‘lorry’ issue, this is a road issue; recent closures of the M4 have largely been down to motorists in cars. What we want and what the Welsh economy needs is a commitment from policy makers to provide a resilient and fit-for-purpose road network that adequately services businesses in and around south Wales.”

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