A PUBLIC campaign to scrap the 50mph speed limit on the M4 in Newport has screeched to a halt.

Nearly 150 people – mostly from Gwent – signed a petition calling on the Senedd to do away with the average speed limit zone between motorway junctions 28 (Tredegar Park) and 24 (Coldra).

The organisers of the online petition demanded "the immediate reversal of this policy", claiming government money should instead be spent on "green initiatives that benefit not restrict the public".

"The best way to ease congestion is to increase supply (such as building additional lanes or bypass road), not reduce demand [thereby] damaging the economy," they claimed.

When the average speed cameras were installed on the M4, the Welsh Government said the new 50mph zone would make the stretch of motorway in Newport safer and cleaner.

The cameras would help manage congestion by providing smoother traffic flows, also leading to improved journey times. This would also reduce the risk of accidents, and improve air quality by reducing emissions levels, the government said.


Previously, that stretch of M4 had been monitored by a series of variable speed cameras, which could be set individually at different speeds. But following recommendation from Lord Burns' South East Wales Transport Commission, tasked with improving transport in the region, the government scrapped those cameras in favour of a fixed 50mph average speed limit.

On Tuesday, the Senedd's petitions committee noted the government's transport strategy, with Plaid MS Luke Fletcher questioning the petitioners' calls to build more lanes and bypasses.

"There is evidence out there to suggest that wouldn't be the solution," he said.

Mr Fletcher said the "core tenets" of the Welsh Government's transport strategy focused on "clean air and environment, and we've seen the Welsh Government has no plans to remove the average speed cameras at present".

The committee decided to close the petition, and leave the matter of the 50mph zone in Newport to individual Senedd members, should they wish to take up the petitioners' calls for it to be scrapped.