The Leader of South Gloucestershire’s Labour councillors has welcomed a decision not to support a highly-controversial route for a new junction off the M4 motorway, but has warned that this has not killed off the option completely.
The council’s Cabinet decided this afternoon to recommend a ‘western’ option for a possible junction 18A near Emersons Green rather than alternative eastern routes near Pucklechurch.
Addressing the Cabinet meeting, Councillor Pat Rooney said:
“I have long supported the principle of a new junction off the M4 to improve access to high-value jobs in our area. That support was always based on a route direct to the Science Park, so I was shocked when the alternative eastern options appeared last summer.
We know how unpopular the eastern alternative has been with local residents, and I share their view. I am concerned that this option would channel more traffic through Kingswood, further reducing the air quality here, which previous reports to Cabinet have highlighted is among the worst in our area. I am unconvinced that there would be no air quality impact.
Obviously I urge the Cabinet to back the preference for the always-intended western option. Given that the western option scores so much better in meeting the scheme objectives, a cynic might ask whether the alternatives were put in simply for Cabinet to ride to the rescue and claim some sort of victory.
But any decision today does not kill off the eastern option. Cabinet is endorsing a preference but the final decision rests with government. The un-preferred eastern option still rests on the table for the Minister to decide. I therefore urge the Conservatives to apply pressure on their friends in government to kill off the eastern option at the earliest opportunity.”