Newport “should seize opportunities” of toll abolition

(Title Image: BBC Wales)

In his short debate on Wednesday afternoon, Mark Reckless AM (Con, South Wales East) outlined the opportunities coming Newport’s way and hopes that the city will take advantage of them.

Firstly, the abolition of Severn crossing tolls is already leading to a private sector response in the housing market – aiming a barb at Labour AMs who didn’t welcome the prospect of mass house-building in south east Wales. The more housing sites are unlocked, the more developers can contribute in Section 106 agreements towards infrastructure.

Electrification between Cardiff and London would reduce journey times to London to 1 hour 35 minutes.

And, of course, he couldn’t fail to mention the proposed M4 bypass. He hoped Labour would live up to previous manifesto commitments and back the project when it comes to a final decision.

Jayne Bryant AM (Lab, Newport West) added that there were a number of opportunities the city would take advantage of, including the new convention centre, but the congestion problems shouldn’t be ignored.

Replying to the debate, Economy & Infrastructure Secretary, Ken Skates (Lab, Clwyd South) was “proud” of the work the Welsh Government were doing in the south-east. The Newport area was also being recognised as a major centre for cybersecurity and data services.

He believes creating a so-called economic region around the Severn estuary would draw in more investment, while the inspectors report on the M4 Newport bypass was now with Welsh Government officials.