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14th February 2020

Toll charge considered for Severn crossing traffic

BY: Nathan Spackman

Fees may be reintroduced on the Severn crossings between Wales and Bristol, in an effort to ease congestion.

Since the tolls were scrapped in 2018, the number of vehicles using the two bridges has increased, with the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) saying its probably made congestion worse.

The authority yesterday said it is considering "charging measures and controls" on both sides of the bridge to deal with traffic levels".

But officials have not yet given detail on timescales or how the charges could be levied.

The ideas are being considered as part of its latest joint local transport plan, which sets out infrastructure plans up to 2036.

Teresa May pledged to scrap the bridge tolls when the bridges returned to public ownership in 2017, with the tolls abolished on 17th December 2018.

A WECA spokesman said: "The removal of the tolls provides many opportunities to boost the economies of the West of England and South Wales.

"We are working with the Department for Transport, Highways England, Wales Office and Welsh Government - as well as our constituent councils - to ensure we make the most of these opportunities, while mitigating any potentially negative impacts.

"This includes considering measures to reduce traffic flow and cut congestion."

But the report also adds improvements to public transport may not be sufficient enough to counteract the rise in traffic.

"The implications of removal of the Severn Crossing Toll are a key unknown," it adds.

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