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No plans for return of Severn Bridge tolls – Lee Waters

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

Twm Owen, local democracy reporter

The man responsible for transport in Wales has said there are no plans to bring back tolls on the Severn bridges and that “there never have been”.

Lee Waters, who as deputy minister for climate change is in charge of transport policy, was responding to question about a council plan that suggested the reintroduction of charges to cross the bridges that connect South East Wales with the west of England could be on the cards.

Welsh Conservative transport spokesperson Natasha Asghar, raised the local transport plan, produced by Monmouthshire Council in the Senedd. It listed lobbying for the reintroduction of the charges, scrapped by the UK Governnent in 2018, as a potential scheme it could support.

Ms Ashgar said the idea was “hidden away” in the plan and noted the council said it could “reduce journeys to and from Bristol by private car and reduce traffic on the M4 and M48.”

The South East Wales member said reintroducing the tolls would have a “devastating impact on residents, businesses and drivers – and would be the final nail in the coffin for our economy.”

She asked: “Out of interest do you support the return of the tolls, and will you put pressure on your Labour colleagues at the council to make sure this horrendous idea is a non-starter?”

Mr Waters said the council had included the idea in its plan to look at a “whole series of things” but “concluded in this case this isn’t a desirable way to go forward”.

Options

He added: “She (Ms Ashgar) knows that full well. There are no plans to reintroduce tolls on the Severn Bridge, there never have been plans and it was simply looking at all the options as is responsible to do so. They would not be fulfilling their jobs had they not looked at all the options.”

Mr Waters had said the council was “legally required” to produce a transport plan and to consider all options as part of it. Monmouthshire council has said the responsibility for producing such plans has now passed to combined committees of regional councils but it had created its own plan to influence the south east Wales document as well as address specific transport issues in the county.

The deputy minister criticised Ms Ashgar’s approach and her “grasp” of transport policy and how it is produced.

Ms Ashgar had raised her question in the Senedd a day after her South East Wales Conservative colleague Laura Ann Jones had requested a statement but was told an options appraisal by a county council wasn’t a matter for the deputy minister to comment on.


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cablestreet
cablestreet
1 month ago

Call it out for what it is, a”Blanket ban on free travel across the Severn bridges”.
The Tories really love their conspiracy theories. I look forward to Arty D sticking his fourpennyworth in. Oh, and you’ll only be able to cross at 20mph!

Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards
1 month ago

Is Wales going to be a self-sufficient nation state? Or England’s poor relation, a one-party dependency, where the natives live on free-stuff given by England but distributed by Labour-dominated committees at various levels. The point is that Wales needs sources of tax revenue. As Israel did years ago, we should mainly get tax revenue by ditching the present and growing the economy. And we should control the real-estate eg Pont Hafren, WE choose whether to levy tolls, or re-impose museum fees. But if we had a proper economy, we wouldn’t be forced even to look at/fear these things.

Llyn
Llyn
1 month ago

Here’s guessing this won’t stop the Tories saying Labour want to reintroduce tolls on the Severn Bridge along with tolls on various roads across Wales. Because this sort of lie plays well with the crazed far-right conspiracy theorists that the Welsh Tories are playing to and who believe that no means yes.

Richard Davies
Richard Davies
1 month ago

All you ever hear from the tories here in Cymru is moaning, complaining and conspiracy claims. They have never made a positive contribution towards the everyday lives of Cymry.

Stevie B
Stevie B
1 month ago

I support reintroducing the tolls on both bridges crossing the river Seven. The bridges need millions of pounds a year to maintain them. Also the tolls could bring much needed revenue to the Welsh Government. Finally, a point not related to the tolls and dragging up an old discussion point (apologies) the naming of the second Seven Bridge as the Prince of Wales Bridge is an act of colonial oppression.

cablestreet
cablestreet
1 month ago
Reply to  Stevie B

Yes, and we all know who came up with that little gem, all on his own. Alun Cairns. Say no more. Apparently, at the time, some silent majority somewhere, approved of it.

Stevie B
Stevie B
1 month ago
Reply to  cablestreet

My name is Alun Cairns and I am a traitor

Bridge 2far
Bridge 2far
1 month ago
Reply to  Stevie B

At last someone with a bit of common sense, either you pay to maintain the bridges, or be prepared to go to Gloster to get across the Severn. And before you start on the ” that’s what we pay road tax for” who pays road tax, the majority of new cars are free or only £30 a year it’s sad when people believe they can have what they don’t pay for. If the British government has any ….. It would privatize the motorway net work, and let them charge what they want, ….. Think about it, it would reduce emissions… Read more »

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