Press Release – 9th September 2019
The problems at the Brynglas Tunnels haven’t gone away!
The news that nothing has been done to develop a Plan B to replace the cancelled M4 Relief Road project, despite the First Minister promising, 4 months ago that a Commission would be established to report a short term action plan within 6 months has been greeted with shock and dismay by Wales’ civil engineering sector.
CECA Wales Director, Ed Evans, said :
“Cancellation of the project 4 months ago was a bitter pill for many in the infrastructure sector to swallow but that pill could have been sweetened if it had been followed up with a clear “plan B”. And what has been the response from politicians? Let’s set up another commission which in 6 months will report a “short term action plan”. We’re now 4 months in and nothing. Not a dickie bird! It now seems we’re expected to wait another 6 months? It’s just not good enough!”
“Apart from ignoring the thousands who use that stretch every day the decision has caused severe problems for an already struggling construction sector. Significant delays and, in many instances, the cancellation of so many infrastructure investments has raised major concerns throughout the industry in Wales and we are seeing a number of companies being pushed to and, in some cases, over the brink. Added to this is the UK Government’s flawed austerity policies which mean that local authorities have little or no funding to improve their local transportation networks either. It’s this kind of work that has been the lifeblood of so many small, local civil engineering companies.”
“In a sector that represents 7% of our GVA, employs over 120,000 people across Wales and trains thousands more (with many of those jobs paid far higher than the Welsh average) it’s a fundamental part of our foundational economy. But it remains undervalued and poorly respected by politicians. The lack of visibility of future workload, political indecision and the poor way the public sector procures infrastructure projects just reinforces this perception.”
“We have an infrastructure sector that can deliver for Wales and support our communities but we need government, at all levels, to get its act together. A plan B for the M4 at Newport would be a start! Now!”
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