Robert Lloyd Griffiths, Director IoD Wales, said: “This is desperately disappointing. Congestion is holding us back and is also deterring investors from considering us as viable traders. We firmly believe the Black Route is the best option for the most impactful and integrated transport option to best benefit Wales’ economy.


“For the business leaders I speak to day in, day out, the message on improving the M4 was clear: get it done and get it done quickly. We now know this is not going to happen. The lingering and procrastinating has done nothing for Wales’ reputation and the more economically and environmentally viable option which have been debated should have been thoroughly considered and presented today.


“The perennial issue of a relief road featured prominently in our Ten Point Plan for the Economy, which we presented before the last Welsh General Election, with its potential to dramatically and positively impact transport links for the Wales economy.


“We have conducted various surveys among our members for some time now, which have revealed that the M4 and major road links to north Wales still need to be drastically improved at busy junctions – congestion must be relieved and accident figures reduced. This is a dark day for the economy of Wales.”


Heather Myers, CEO, South and Mid Wales Chamber of Commerce, said: “The South and Mid Wales Chamber of Commerce, along with the entire business community that we represent, is bitterly disappointed with today’s news.


“With the decision not to build the relief road and, currently, no alternative solution proposed to help alleviate the congestion along this stretch of the M4, we are again left in limbo. Businesses who move their goods around and people who travel to work along the motorway will face years more of chaos, hindering economic growth.


“Opposition to the M4 relief road has always been centred around the argument that there are cheaper, more environmentally friendly solutions to the recognised problem, but we are astonished that these alternative solutions have not been put forward today.


“The South and Mid Wales Chamber of Commerce will be keeping pressure on the Welsh Government to come up with a solution, so that future generations of commuters, tourists, delivery drivers, and people just trying to get across the country aren’t left in traffic jams around Newport for decades to come.”