A PETITION which has attracted more than 200 signatures has reignited fresh calls for a bypass in Chepstow to ease traffic and air pollution problems.

New proposals by the local branch of the Monmouth Conservatives Association aim to reduce congestion along the A48 which runs through the town.

A “short-term” solution has been offered in a new junction on the M48 eastbound from the A48 near Pwllmeryic.

Members say an on-off link would allow access and egress for motorists coming from Caldicot and neighbouring villages.

It would also serve to relieve the burden on High Beech roundabout, according to campaigner Alan Braund.

Further pressure is expected to come from the 450-home development at the former Mabey Bridge site, which were approved in April despite concerns over traffic.

Monmouth AM had invited Welsh economy secretary Ken Skates to Chepstow to listen to such concerns, but the minister has yet to visit.

Mr Braund also believes the earmarked closure of Beachley Barracks, which would yield space for up to 1,000 houses, would help to generate “huge vehicle traffic” in the town.

He added: “Most of this traffic will want to access the A48 and M48 heading both east and west via Hardwick Hill. It is already one of the most polluted highways in Wales.

“It would be helpful for the authorities to take the matter seriously, to recognise the problem, set up a joint committee, and agree to studies, estimates so that we know what we are up agains.

“It could take 10 years and we haven’t got that amount of time.”

The latest petition has been welcomed by Cllr Jez Becker, founder of the Chepstow and Sedbury Bypass Action Group, who said that the issue “transcended party politics”.

A petition by the group delivered to the UK government had been knocked back in February after it was deemed a “Welsh Government-only issue”.

According to the Lib Dem councillor, his group has measured the “resilience” of Chepstow’s traffic systems when faced with increasing traffic.

“Data gathered in the last three four months has shown that a lockdown has happened at least once a month, which is a good indicator of a lack of alternatives,” he said.

“The problem is not capacity of the road, our problem in Chepstow is the resilience of our traffic systems if something goes wrong which, when it does, causes the systems to lockdown.”

“We need the cross-border authorities to come together and investigate traffic numbers in relation to these developments.”