Study on benefits of motorway link
Published on: 12 Aug 2015
AN independent study is being carried out into the economic benefits of a new link to the M4 from the Avon Ring Road at Emersons Green.
Kingswood MP Chris Skidmore said experts from the University of Bath were conducting the in-depth look at the potential positive impact of the long-awaited junction 18a. This is in addition to a feasibility study commissioned by South Gloucestershire Council.
“The case for a M4 link has now never been stronger - the development of Lyde Green and the designation of Emersons Green as an enterprise zone makes the link road a vital piece of infrastructure that we need for our local area,” Mr Skidmore said.
The Conservative MP was speaking at a House of Commons debate in Westminster Hall, where he told MPs that the campaign for the link had “stepped up a gear” in 2015 thanks to the formation of a cross-party group called Gateway 2 Growth, backed by Business West and the Bristol & Bath Science Park, which is pressing not only the transport and congestion case but also the likely benefits to businesses.
Mr Skidmore outlined the frustrations of motorists from the Downend area who could hear the sound of vehicles on the M4 as they queued on the ring road in a three-mile journey to junction 19 that could take up to an hour.
He reminded Mps that the link had first been proposed in 1985 – when he was four years old – but had never been built.
Thornbury and Yate’s new Tory MP, Luke Hall, who – with Filton & Bradley Stoke Conservative MP Jack Lopresti - spoke in support of Mr Skidmore, said he had not even been born at that time.
Mr Skidmore praised Emersons Green councillors Colin Hunt, James Hunt, Rachael Hunt and Dave Kearns for their determined efforts to keep up pressure for the road and urged Ministers to support it.
He said: “A new junction would help to put the thriving community of Emersons Green on the map.”
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin visited the site of the proposed junction in April and the local Mps showed him the exciting 21st century developments in the area, including the science park and the National Composites Centre, which increase the need for improved transport links.
The University of Bath study is being conducted by Dr Phil Tomlinson, senior lecturer in business economics, and Marc Betton, PhD researcher, and will be unveiled at the Commons next month.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones told the Westminster Hall debate that Mr Skidmore had put forward a strong case.
“I understand entirely why the link matters. It would open up opportunities and improve the quality of life in the area. I am aware of the congestion as people come down the M4 before taking the motorway spur into the centre of Bristol.
“It is essential that we continue to develop our transport network to meet new needs.”