A CARER who often visits Wales’ ‘Amazon rainforest’ for respite has voiced his serious concerns of the planned M4 relief road.

Hugh Gregory is a 61-year-old IT contractor and for the past 30 years has been a carer for his wife, Denise, who suffers from depression and physical disabilities.

Mr Gregory, from Portskewett, turned his attention to wildlife and photography to help him de-stress. He now spends his weekly carer’s respite at Gwent Wildlife Trust’s Magor Marsh Nature Reserve on the Gwent Levels. “I’ve always loved the countryside since I was a lad,” he said. “Only 10 minutes away, I visited Magor Marsh nature reserve as few years ago and loved it. It’s ideal for giving me a short break from work or caring duties.

“The reserve is compact but has a great variety of habitat and wildlife. There is always something to see and photograph, whatever the time of year.”

The carer has now raised serious concerns about the proposed motorway route.

The Welsh Government proposed the new M4 ‘black route’ – a 14-mile motorway around Newport – which would go through the Barecroft Common section of Magor Marsh Nature Reserve.

He said: “I am against the new M4 motorway plans. I feel sorry for commuters – I have been one – but there has to be a better solution for people and for the area’s wildlife. By the time a new M4 is built, there will be new green technologies in place and if money was instead invested in that and a better public transport infrastructure, a new motorway would not be needed.

“I love coming to Magor Marsh and immersing myself in nature and the wildlife here. I’m truly concerned about what will be lost for both people and wildlife, if this goes ahead.”

Gwent Wildlife Trust’s chief executive, Ian Rappel, said the site was “vital” for the health of both people and wildlife.

He said: “One in four adults experience mental health disorder including anxiety and depression. A great way to help is to get outdoors, and that’s why precious green places like the M4 threatened Gwent Levels and our Magor Marsh Nature Reserve are vital for the health of people, as well as wildlife.

“It’s proven that being in wild places and connected with nature improves our mood and increases our sense of self-worth. It’s great to hear the benefits that Hugh and his wife get from visiting our reserve at Magor Marsh and I encourage other people to visit and feel the benefits too.”

First minister Mark Drakeford is set to make a decision in early June on whether to build the new motorway.