House of Commons hears benefits of investment in new M4 junction - Gateway2Growth
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House of Commons hears benefits of investment in new M4 junction

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16 Sep House of Commons hears benefits of investment in new M4 junction

A report into the case for investment for a new M4 junction at Emersons Green near Bristol was unveiled at the House of Commons on Wednesday, 16 September.

The report by the University of Bath for the Gateway2Growth campaign group highlights six key economic benefits of a new M4 link designed to provide easier access to Emersons Green and accommodate significant growth planned for the area.

Parliamentarians, local businesses and supporters attended the report’s unveiling by Chris Skidmore MP, who has been one of the leaders of the campaign. Hundreds of people have signed a petition calling for investment in these critical road improvements for the area.

If supported with government investment, the report says the new link road situated between junctions 18 and 19 of the M4 would:

  • Reduce congestion costs and current transport related constraints upon businesses at Emersons Green.
  • Attract new business investment and highly skilled employment to the Emersons Green Enterprise Area, particularly in high technology industries.
  • Enhance the potential for the Bristol & Bath Science Park to become a regional hub for science, research and innovation.
  • Improve the flexibility and participation of the labour market due to easier commuting.
  • Improving the work-life balance of commuters and local residents by reducing journey times in and out of Bristol.
  • Significantly reduce the impact of traffic on inappropriate alternative routes currently being used.

The initiative has cross party backing, support from regional businesses and has already been debated in parliament and highlighted during Prime Minister’s questions earlier this year.

Chris Skidmore said: “The University of Bath’s report sets out a clear and pressing need for investment in a new junction, on a number of fronts. It is a significant step in the Gateway2Growth campaign, which is building momentum with a clear consensus on business and social benefits for the region, commuters and businesses.

“There has been significant economic development in this area and we need a road infrastructure to cater for this growth and the future development that is expected here. I have been leading the campaign for the new 18a link since entering Westminster and the need for a new road link is becoming more pressing than ever if we are to maximise the area’s economic potential and minimise future congestion for people living and working here.”

Thornbury and Yate MP and campaign supporter Luke Hall added: “Lots of people I speak to recognise the need for improvements to the M4 junction to meet the current need for better infrastructure. It forms a key part of supporting future growth for South Gloucestershire and will help the government and local partners deliver on their objectives for a dynamic, locally-led and growing economy.”

The report was written by Dr Phil Tomlinson, Associate Professor in Business Economics in the School of Management at the University of Bath and researcher Marc Betton, who interviewed several key stakeholders from local businesses and local government as part of the research into the need for the junction.

Dr Tomlinson said: “One of the key findings of the report was the level of agreement from all stakeholders about the need for this investment. Emersons Green is an area with significant growth ambitions, with thousands of jobs projected and new homes being built. But some businesses we spoke to said they would consider moving from the area without this investment and the ability to attract new companies could be constrained without it. The proposal promises to reduce congestion, realise the potential of Bristol and Bath Science Park and the Enterprise Area and enhance the development and vitality of the high-tech cluster on this site.”

The Emersons Green Enterprise Area has been identified as a key area for economic growth over the next 12 years with up to 7,000 jobs predicted to be created. The area boasts a growing residential community and a number of prominent businesses are already based here, such as Bristol and Bath Science Park,  the National Composites Centre, Airbus, Sainsbury’s, Assystem, Emerald and Harlequin Business parks, Emersons Green NHS centre and a Premier Inn hotel.

Check out the business and social case for investment in an M4 link road at Emersons Green.