April 28, 2016

Associated British Ports (ABP), owner and operator of the Port of Newport, will be formally lodging its objections to Welsh Government and the Secretary of State for Transport against the compulsory purchase of approximately 87 acres of land through the centre of the Port, to make way for a six-lane motorway bridge as part of a new M4 relief road.

ABP, whose operations in Newport support around 3,000 jobs and contribute £186 million annually to the Welsh economy, believes that the loss of land at the port, coupled with the damaging impact on port operations, will affect existing import and export activities, and will also have long-lasting, irreparable consequences for the Port and, potentially, the prosperity of the region and the growth of the Welsh economy.

Matthew Kennerley, director of Associated British Ports South Wales, commented: “The loss of almost 20% of our total land area would be a potentially devastating blow for the Port of Newport. The route corridor will cut right through the heart of the port, effectively severing it in two, and imposing a critical height restriction on access to the North Dock which would physically exclude around 50% of vessels that currently utilise this area.

“The Port of Newport supports around 3,000 local jobs and contributes £186 million to the local economy every year. We need to protect the port and ensure that it can continue to grow, creating more jobs and prosperity for local people. ABP has repeatedly expressed its serious concern at the impact on the port and we have been left with no option but to object formally to the proposed M4 route.

“The combination of the significant loss of port land, the restrictions that would be placed on vessels able to enter North Dock under the new motorway bridge and the wider disruption and limitation of the port’s operational capacity and flexibility add up to a very serious problem for the port and everyone who relies on it. It will also have a major impact on investment, development and expansion plans in the future.

“We believe that viable alternatives to the black route exist and that a solution can be found that significantly reduces the negative impact on Wales’ most strategically important general cargo port. A compromise is possible, a route that ensures that the Port of Newport, and the businesses which rely on the port, continue to have a bright future.”