M4 relief road plan 'needs flood defence fund commitment'

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A long-term commitment to fund flood defences along the route of the M4 relief road is needed before the scheme goes ahead, it has been argued.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) - which is objecting to the £1.1bn project - said the likely impact of climate change had be taken into account.

NRW was giving evidence at a public inquiry into the plans in Newport.

Lawyers for the Welsh Government said it was "inconceivable" sea defences would not be maintained.

The proposed route of the relief road would cross areas of tidal floodplain within the Severn Estuary on a raised embankment.

Gary Purnell, a technical specialist for NRW's flood risk analysis team, told the inquiry that proposals to manage tidal flood risk had not been guaranteed over the lifetime of the project.

An assumption that defences would be maintained was not satisfactory, he said.