M4 corridor

The M4 corridor is an area in the United Kingdom adjacent to the M4 motorway, which runs from London to South Wales.[1] It is a major high-technology hub.[2][3] Important cities and towns linked by the M4 include (from east to west) London, Slough, Bracknell, Maidenhead, Reading, Newbury, Swindon, Bath, Bristol, Newport, Cardiff, Port Talbot and Swansea. The area is also served by the Great Western Main Line, the South Wales Main Line, and London Heathrow Airport.[4] Technology companies with major operations in the area include Adobe, Amazon, Citrix Systems, Dell, Huawei, Lexmark, LG, Microsoft, Novell, Nvidia, O2, Oracle, Panasonic, SAP, and Symantec.


Reading International Business Park. This crescent of offices beside the A33 are home to Verizon, a telecommunications company. They were formerly the European headquarters of WorldCom before its demise

The eastern end of the English M4 corridor is home to a large number of technology companies, particularly in Berkshire, Swindon and the Thames Valley.[5] For this reason this part of the M4 corridor is sometimes described as England's "Silicon Valley".[1] Slough, Windsor, Maidenhead, Reading, Bracknell and Newbury are the main towns in the Berkshire stretch of the M4.

Reading is home to many information technology and financial services businesses, including Cisco, Microsoft,[6] ING Direct,[7] Oracle,[8] Prudential,[9] Yell Group[10] and Ericsson.[11] Vodafone has a major corporate campus in Newbury,[12] O2 plc is in Slough.[13] Maidenhead is the home of Hutchison 3G UK's headquarters[14] and Tesla Motors' UK head office.[15]

Investment has gradually spread westwards since the 1980s.[16] In the west, the interchange of the M4 and M5 motorways north of Bristol had seen considerable growth of industries by the mid 1990s.[17]


The Second Severn Crossing carries the M4 motorway between England and Wales
The Digital Technium at Swansea University

The major Welsh towns and cities along the M4 corridor are Bridgend, Cardiff, Llanelli, Neath, Newport, Port Talbot and Swansea. South Wales is an industrial heartland of the UK.[18]

The 1980s and 1990s saw the development of the Swansea Enterprise Park.[19] The Celtic Manor Resort, adjacent to the M4 in Newport, has received significant investment[20] and hosted the 2010 Ryder Cup.[21] Newport has seen significant growth in the electronics industry since the late 1980s.[22][23] The 1990s saw significant investment in Cardiff, such as in Cardiff Gate and the Cardiff Bay area.[24] One site of note on the M4 corridor is Port Talbot Steelworks – the largest steel producer in the UK and one of the biggest in Europe.[25]

The opening of the Second Severn Crossing in 1996 resulted in the previous M4 and bridge, serving Chepstow, being renumbered the M48, although the area is still generally considered as falling within the M4 corridor.[26][27]

Since the start of the 21st century there has been evidence of more investment west of Cardiff, such as:

See also


  1. Rowley, Trevor (2006). The English Landscape in the Twentieth Century. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 47. ISBN 9781852853884. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
  2. Norfolk Council economic report
  3. "Tech Map of Britain: M4 corridor". The Telegraph. 3 November 2010. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  4. "Britain's science corridor". The New York Times. 24 April 1983. Retrieved 7 November 2010.
  5. Technology Companies (3 November 2010). "Tech Map of Britain: M4 corridor". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  6. "Microsoft UK Headquarters, Reading". Microsoft.com. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  7. "ING Direct UK HQ". Ingdirect.co.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  8. "Oracle UK HQ". Oracle.com. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  9. "Prudential UK locations". Pru.co.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  10. "Yell Group HQ". Yellgroup.com. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  11. "Ericsson UK Sites". Ericsson.com. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  12. "BBC Vodafone moves world HQ to London". BBC News. 24 June 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  13. "Flexible Working Pilot for O2 Head Office". Business Interiors. 10 February 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  14. "Hutchison 3G office locations". Three.co.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  15. "Contact Tesla Motors". teslamotors.com. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  16. "OHRU Thames Valley to Silicon Valley and the M4 Corridor". Histru.bournemouth.ac.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  17. "Bristol Economic Assessment March 2011" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 November 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  18. "History Learning Site - Wales and devolution". BBC. 11 January 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  19. "Swansea Council - Business". Government of the United Kingdom. 12 June 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  20. "Celtic Manor Resort - History". Celtic-manor.com. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  21. "2010 Ryder Cup - Europe". Rydercup.com. Archived from the original on 11 December 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  22. "Draft" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 May 2006. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  23. "Workers hope as billionaire sells firm". BBC News. 23 February 2000. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  24. "Bay investment is 'obscene' says MP". BBC News. 20 April 2000. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  25. "WAG News 2005 - Port Talbot's new £80m Steel Caster officially opens". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  26. "Creating Media". 12 May 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  27. "Capital Wales". Investinsouthwales.com. Archived from the original on 10 March 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  28. "Neath Port Talbot council investing in Aberavon Beach". BBC. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  29. "Baglan Energy Park". NPT. 10 November 2010. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  30. metrowebukmetro (29 March 2007). "Amazon to create hundreds of jobs". Metro. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  31. "History". Swansea Docks. 9 October 1937. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  32. "CCS - Development". Swansea.devplan.org.uk. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  33. "Llanelli Gate". Llanelli Gate. Archived from the original on 8 June 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  34. "Carmarthenshire Council - Strategic Sites". Government of the United Kingdom. 9 December 2008. Archived from the original on 9 May 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  35. "Llanelli Waterside". Llanelli Waterside. Archived from the original on 16 June 2013. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  36. "New Wales racecourse goes flat out". News Wales. 13 July 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2013.

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