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Controversial transport plan adopted

17 May 2024 3 minute read
Toll booths on the Severn bridge. Picture: Stewart Black (CC BY 2.0)

Twm Owen, local democracy reporter

A transport plan that raised the prospect of reintroducing tolls on the Severn bridges has finally been adopted.

Monmouthshire County Council came under fire from Welsh Secretary and Monmouth Conservative MP David Davies, and others, over the inclusion of possibly lobbying for the reintroduction of the tolls in the draft plan that was consulted on at the end of last year.

The council’s Labour-led cabinet approved the local transport strategy – which outlines how it aims to support bus and rail travel, increasing cycling and walking routes and accepts some journeys will have to continue to be made by private vehicles – at its Wednesday, May 15 meeting. It doesn’t contain any call for reintroducing the bridge tolls.

Cardiff City Region

It also agreed the plan sets out Monmouthshire’s transport priorities for consideration by the Cardiff City Region as it develops the South East Wales Transport Plan.

Conservative opposition leader Cllr Richard John said he welcomed the plan that has been agreed by the cabinet.

He said: “I welcome the removal of the proposal around lobbying for the reintroduction of the Severn bridge tolls, a work place parking levy, variable parking charges and low emission zones that dominated public feedback and overshadowed more positive debate that could have taken place.

“Can the public have confidence those specific four proposals are permanently off the table?”

Drybridge councillor Catrin Maby, the cabinet member responsible for transport, said it was “weirdly negative” of Cllr John to focus on what isn’t in the plan and said asking for something to be permanently off the table sounded like the council should never be asked to discuss them “in perpetuity”.

Bridge tolls

She said it hadn’t been the council’s intention to lobby for reintroducing the bridge tolls but it, and some other ideas, were listed in the draft plan having been raised “by stakeholders”.

She said the plan sets out the council’s strategy for the next five years and those actions raised by Cllr John aren’t included but she reminded him as responsibility for transport strategies had now passed to the Cardiff City Region, which brings together councils from across south east Wales “we are not really in a position to provide any guarantees as to what would, or wouldn’t, be included in that plan.”

Cllr Maby had earlier said though councils are no longer required to produce their own transport plans Monmouthshire had agreed to do so as it wanted to influence the wider regional plan and didn’t want to be sidelined by larger population areas or it position on the edge of the region.

In January councillors debated a Conservative motion that lobbying for the reintroduction of the tolls and the workplace charging levy be removed from the plan. At that time the cabinet said it had never intended adopting them but they were included in the draft strategy as it was a discussion documen


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Jeff
Jeff
17 days ago

How do we know they won’t introduce a new rule that all cracks in the pavement must not be stepped on? Yeah, just cos it’s not in I fully expect it at some point. Come on Tory councillors, protect my right to step on the cracks.

Gareth
Gareth
17 days ago

The decision on charges for the bridge is the prerogative of National Highways, who are responsible for roads in England and both bridges are under their remit, and are under the jurisdiction of Westminster. As with the naming of the second crossing, it is a Westminster dept who have the final say.

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
17 days ago
Reply to  Gareth

Personally I find the idea of an entry fee for non-residents quite an attractive proposition :S

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
17 days ago

This is a terrible article!

The very first paragraph insinuates that tolls on the two Severn bridges have returned when it is clearly not the case. But anyone that skims through this article might not read it correctly. Nation.Cymru are (usually) much better than this!

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