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20,000 back campaign to keep M4 junction open

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: May 02, 2014

M4 at Port Talbot

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A MASSIVE campaign set up to oppose a "devastating" proposal which traders claim will kill Port Talbot, has reached new heights.

More than 20,000 people have now signed a petition against a Welsh Government trial closure of the westbound on-slip and eastbound off-slip roads at junction 41, which will start in August.

Members of Port Talbot Chamber of Trade will be making the journey to the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff on May 13 to deliver the petition.

Vice-president of the chamber, Steve Redmore, said the chamber is looking to do a deal with Ridgeway Coaches to provide the transport.

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"The landlords of the shopping centre have said they will part-fund the buses," he said.

"A couple of people have also said they would fund it. People are willing to spend their money to get us up there."

Mr Redmore said the plan is for the buses to leave the bus station at 11.15am. The petition will be handed over at 1pm. "What I have planned is in the shopping centre people will be able to put down their names if they are interested in coming so that we can find out how many buses we need," he said.

Mr Redmore said they are delighted to have the support from all angles and all political parties.

An online petition has also collected more than 1,500 names and there is also a petition being run by Aberavon Labour.

"Everyone has got their own voice, but we are all together," he said. "We are in the strongest position than we have ever been.

"We have just over 20,000 signatures, which is fantastic.

"Edwina Hart — or anyone else — can't ignore that. We know this is going to kill Port Talbot."

Mr Redmore added that an action group has also been set up against the closure.

"They are proposing to have a blockage off the M4 sliproads," he said. "We don't endorse that.

"We are not the only ones fighting this. The residents are up in arms."

Chamber president Steve Garvey said he wanted to thank everyone who has written letters to Mrs Hart.

"We would also like to give thanks to AM David Rees, MP Hywel Francis, and especially Canon Nigel Cahill, Rector of Aberavon," he said.

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "The trial closure is to allow monitoring and assessment of the potential improvements to safety and traffic flows along this stretch of the M4.

"Comments can be submitted during the course of the trial."

It is unknown how long the junction closure trial will last.

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