Protests planned as 15,000 sign petition opposing the renaming of the Severn Bridge

Severn Bridge picture by diego_torres. Alun Cairns picture by Cabinet Office (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Pressure is mounting on the Westminster Government to abandon plans to rename the Severn Bridge the ‘Prince of Wales Bridge’ after 15,000 people signed a petition opposing the move in just over 24 hours.

The petition by Jamie Matthews was set up shortly after the announcement by the Westminster Government’s Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns and had surged to 15,000 signatures by 10.30am today.

Opponents of the move were angry that name change had been imposed on Wales with no prior consultation or even a suggestion that the bridge was being renamed.

Meanwhile, a series of protests were being planned, the first of these outside Cardiff’s Hen Lyfrgell / Old Library at 2pm on Saturday organised by Liberals Cymru.

Another protest on the Severn Bridge itself had been mooted by some, including Assembly Member Neil McEvoy.

“The response to the petition has been overwhelming, and still rising fast,” the petition author Jamie Matthews said.

“It really shows the strength of feeling across Wales and England. It feels like we’re having the consultation that we were denied, people have suggested some great alternative names, it’s a real opportunity missed.

“I hope that now, with so much support for this petition, the Secretary of State will reconsider and withdraw this suggestion.”

‘Imposed’

The renaming was intended to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen giving Prince Charles the title of the Prince of Wales when he was nine years old.

But both Labour and Plaid Cymru MPs and AMs have spoken out against the name change. Former Shadow Secretary of State for Wales, MP Paul Flynn, called it a “rather pathetic and desperate stunt”.

Meanwhile, Cardiff West MP Kevin Brennan suggested calling it ‘Pont Beca’ to remember the toll-gate destroying Rebecca Riots.

It was revealed however that the First Minister, Carwyn Jones, had been told about the change but had “raised no objections,” the Westminster Government said.

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said that the royal name wasn’t the issue but the fact that it had been imposed on Wales by the Westminster Government with no public consultation.

She contrasted it with the Queensferry Crossing in Scotland where a vote was held and more than 35,000 votes cast.

“The problem with this is that people in Wales have not been asked – as people in Scotland were asked when the Queensferry crossing was named,” she told Wales Online.

“Decisions about Wales should be made in Wales, not imposed on us without our consent.”

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