ASSEMBLY members debated a motion (NDM6647) put forward by Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn) on Wednesday (Feb 7). The motion read;
To propose that the National Assembly for Wales: Resolves that the Welsh Government should not commit to financing the proposed M4 relief road without a meaningful vote on a substantive motion in the Assembly following the conclusion of the current public inquiry.
The following amendment was also tabled: Amendment 1. Julie James (Swansea West)
Delete all and replace with: To propose that the National Assembly for Wales: Recognises that a public inquiry by independent inspectors into the M4 corridor around Newport project is still underway and nothing should be done to prejudice the outcome of the inquiry, the inspectors’ report or the statutory process.
Speaking about the issues surrounding the costs of the proposed relief road Lee Waters AM/AC said: “This is a thirty-odd-year-old solution to a problem of congestion and technology is changing rapidly. The costs have changed. When we fought our manifesto at the election we were talking about a project of under a billion I would imagine we would be looking closer to 2 billion than 1 billion and that changes the nature of the commitment we had in our manifesto
“I take this very seriously and my position on this is not about game playing. I want to kill this road. I don’t want to play games around it. Plaid Cymru could have killed this project in the budget should they have wanted to.”
Plaid Cymru’s Simon Thomas AM/AC responded by saying: “The budget only puts in reserve the capital for the funding and there would need to be a supplementary budget and a vote on the supplementary budget to allow this to go ahead. I look forward to joining him (Lee Waters) in the lobby to vote down that money for this project.”
Lee Waters responded by saying: “I am not in the business of voting down the budget of Labour governments. I would not be able to support the motion. I am not interested in being part of Plaid Cymru’s parlour games.”
Plaid Cymru’s Adam Price AM/AC proposed the motion in the name of Rhun Ap Iorwerth and said: “It is true to say that the road is one of the most controversial projects we have been discussing for decades. This motion asks us not to decide today on this issue but to ensure there will be an opportunity for us to make a decision so that members can be heard. We have seen throughout the time that this project has been discussed the costs have increased partly for inflationary reasons. We know now from the evidence that that has risen without including VAT to 1.3 billion. Friends of the Earth have estimated that we are already closer to 1.8 billion. It is a mega project and nobody can argue with that. I think it is only right and proper that this parliament will get the right to decide.”
Mr Price went on to argue that the kind of money used for the relief road could establish an integrated transport system such as a Metro for Swansea Bay and Western Valleys and money to spare to reopen the Aberystwyth to Carmarthen railway line
He said: “The point of this motion is that a range of views need to be heard and brought to bear on the final decision. I hope we will get support across the chamber across the range of views about what should happen.”
You can watch the clip here. Source: Senedd.TV ©2018
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