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Campaigns update: Wales celebrates as M4 development is refused

After months of campaigning, we were delighted when Wales’ First Minister, Mark Drakeford, decided to abandon plans for a new M4 relief road. The road threatened ancient woodland as well as the Gwent Levels Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It would have been a disaster for local biodiversity.

M4 – the right decision for future generations

Many conservation groups, volunteers and campaigners came together to voice their concerns. Thank you to all our supporters who joined the call and took part in the campaign.

We’d also like to thank Mark Drakeford AM. He listened to the concerns raised for the environment. In the face of considerable pressure to approve the road, he made the right decision for future generations.

Pwll Diwaelod is just one of the  ancient woods that was threatened by the M4 development (Photo: Jack Taylor/WTML)
Pwll Diwaelod is just one of the ancient woods that was threatened by the M4 development (Photo: Jack Taylor/WTML)

The refusal of the ’Black Route’ M4 relief road proposal is a milestone. This decision is an action that matches the political rhetoric.

It also supports the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act; the government’s 2015 pledge to consider the long term impacts of its decisions. And it’s particularly poignant right now when a climate emergency has been declared.

We’ll keep campaigning for other damaging infrastructure projects to go the same way in our bid to defend ancient woods and trees.

964 ancient woods remain under threat

Elsewhere, the fight continues. Sadly, we continue to deal with swathes of new threat cases every month. Right now 964 ancient woods are under threat. And that number keeps going up. Threats include large infrastructure projects and smaller developments, like housing and poultry farms. 

Large infrastructure projects don’t follow the same process as planning applications dealt with by local authorities. Projects like the M4 and HS2 are considered ‘exceptional’ developments and so don’t have the protections of planning policy. But you can help make a difference. 

Join the mass lobby!

To fight these threats, we need to lobby our MPs and central government to prioritise environmental protection. With the decision to scrap the M4 relief road, Wales is leading the way - but there is still a lot to do. 

Join us in London on Wednesday 26 June for The Time is Now mass lobby. Together with The Climate Coalition and Greener UK, we’re asking MPs to take action on climate change before it’s too late.

This is your chance to tell your MP why you believe environmental laws and protections need to be bold and ambitious. Tell them face to face why the environment should be their priority.

Ancient woods really are exceptional. We can only secure their futures with your help.

The Time is Now to act on climate change and the environment

Register for the mass lobby