As champions of the UK logistics industry, the FTA (Freight Transport Association) provides a much-needed voice to the government on behalf of the sector. The association carries out vital on-going work that benefits the haulage industry and one of its latest campaigns has been a call to the Welsh Assembly Members, asking them to put pressure on the First Minister to endorse plans for the M4 ‘Black Route’. |
The FTA is looking for support of the proposed plans not only to inject hundreds of millions of pounds into the Welsh economy, but also to reduce the consistently high levels of congestion experienced in the area.
What is the Black Route?
The controversial proposed expansion of the M4 will provide a relief road around the Newport area, connecting junctions 23A (Magor) and 29 (Castleton). It means motorists will be able to avoid constant traffic jams due to the current two-lane Brynglas Tunnels at Malpas, which haven’t been upgraded significantly since they opened in 1966.
There have been several incarnations of the plan, with much contention regarding the ideal route and controversy around the impact on wildlife and the lives of the local people. Why the FTA is Petitioning for Support Britain’s logistics sector directly affects the lives and livelihoods of more than seven million people employed in the haulage industry and the manufacturing and distributing of goods. Head of Welsh Policy at FTA, Sally Gilson, recently came out in support of the proposed plans for the Black Route. She said it was the “best option for the Welsh economy and its citizens”, and she asked the Assembly Members to put pressure on the First Minister to approve the plans as soon as possible. In her statement, Ms Gilson went on to say that the area represented a “vital stretch of infrastructure” and that FTA members had been calling for a solution to the issue for many years. The Pay Off The FTA says the effects of the route will open up a vast range of opportunities for vital private sector investment into the South Wales economy. In terms of the national haulage industry, too, the ramifications would be widespread. According to an assessment by the Welsh Government, the route would significantly reduce congestion around Newport and improve air quality around the Brynglas Tunnels. In addition, the assessment says that it would be a boost to the local economy, delivering £2 for every £1 invested. Pressure for Progress As anyone in the haulage industry who does business in the region knows only too well, the M4 is a vital link in the infrastructure chain of South Wales, but the FTA says it’s important to note this is not only a local issue but also a national one. Their call for the endorsement of the Black Route reinforces that, with multiple issues (including technology and the effects of Brexit) affecting the UK logistics sector, it’s now more important than ever to promote and support the vital work of the haulage industry to transport goods around the country and beyond.
Author Plate Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides a valuable service for the haulage industry, matching delivery work with available vehicles. It is now the fastest growing Freight Exchange in the UK.
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