AN £8m revamp of Junction 16 on the M4 which could severely increase congestion on feeder roads may be pushed ahead without any public consultation, a rural lobby group fears.

Plans to overhaul the busy junction to smooth the flow of traffic have been in negotiations since 1999, but local councillors have been joined by the Campaign For The Protection Of Rural England in calling for full scrutiny of the latest proposals.

The Highways Agency plans to widen the Swindon Road and Hay Lane junctions, widen slip roads to four lanes, and create a new right turn to Swindon on Hay Lane.

Wiltshire Council has said the application should be looked at in isolation, and issues arising from nearby housing estates should be addressed by individual developers.

But Charmain Spickernell, of the CPRE said the public should have the chance to comment on any proposals.

“It is rather strange there is not going to be any public consultation on this key development,” she said.

“Consultants in the past have said that if you increase the traffic flow around that junction it will cause severe congestion on the feeder roads, particularly around Wootton Bassett and Wroughton.”

A list of 10 potential major transport schemes were approved by Wiltshire Council last year, to be whittled down to find the best option, including upgrading Junction 16.

“There are some real safety issues around Junction 16,” Charmain said. “We had transport consultants looking at it and they said the lanes are so narrow there would not be room for lorries to manoeuvre around the bends.

“Under the recent proposals people would be coming quite fast off the motorway with others coming on their offside through traffic lights. That is not at all safe.” Mollie Groom, the Wiltshire councillor for Royal Wootton Bassett, said the impact of new housing developments would cause a significant build up of traffic in the area, and should be taken into consideration.

“In this area we are becoming increasingly concerned regarding transport rat-runs through our villages,” she said.

“According to Halcrow increasing the flow at Junction 16 will lead to severe congestion on local roads.” A Wiltshire Council spokesman said: “We have looked into the improvements and the changes will not have negative effects on the environment so the development does not require an Environmental Impact Assessment.”