David Rees, Assembly Member for Aberavon, and Stephen Kinnock MP, are delighted that the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, has listened to them and the people of Aberavon, in taking his decision to keep Junction 41 open.
Since the initial proposals in 2012, Mr Rees has continually told the Welsh Government that the junction has to remain open in order for the town of Port Talbot to prosper and be accessible to all people who work and visit the town. Mr Rees invited the Cabinet Secretary to Aberavon last week to show him the layout of the junction and to discuss in detail his objections and concerns along with those of the people living and working within Aberavon. Mr Rees is delighted that this meeting has helped him make this very welcome decision.
Mr Rees also facilitated a meeting between Mike Hutin, Chair of the “No to the Closure of Junction 41” group, and the Cabinet Secretary. At that meeting Mr Hutin further stressed the views of local people and concerns regarding the analysis of the trial closure.
In a letter to Mr Rees and Mr Kinnock, the Cabinet Secretary stated that he has considered the issue fully, including the implications and uncertainties which still remain around Tata Steel, and the UK leaving the EU, and decided not to proceed with further consideration of slip road closures at Port Talbot at this time. The Cabinet Secretary also expressed his recognition that strategic traffic flow is of great importance to economic prosperity in South Wales and has asked his officials to engage with the Swansea Bay City Region to seek their involvement in a wider study of the M4 corridor around Swansea that is currently being developed.
David Rees AM said; “I am extremely pleased that following years of campaigning a final decision has been made on ending further closures of junction 41 which has removed the uncertainty for residents of Aberavon and M4 users. I have always argued that the chaos on local roads due to the closure was unacceptable and the people of Port Talbot deserve a better solution.”
“I and others have expressed all along that Junction 41 is not the problem on this stretch of the M4 and I believe that as a result of the continued discussion between the Welsh Government and myself, and the work of the “No to the Closure of J41” group, the correct decision has today been made and Port Talbot is now open for business at all times.”
Stephen Kinnock MP added; “Since my election one of my priorities has been to insure the smooth flow of traffic through Port Talbot and to halt any further closure of Junction 41. I am pleased that the Welsh Government has taken this step forward and I look forward to growing the economic prosperity of the town.”