THE scrapped Severn Crossings tolls could be replaced with congestion charges on both sides of the river, under plans put forward by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).

Removal of the fees for the Prince of Wales Bridge and the Severn Bridge in 2018 after more than 50 years was hailed as a boon for the area that would unlock investment between Wales and the West of England.

But all those new journeys between the regions have had a major impact on the road network.

WECA is considering new bus routes, park and rides and junction improvements in the West of England to relieve the pressure on the road network.

And to help fund those planned projects, authorities are looking at “demand-management measures, such as charging measures and controls”, on both sides of the River Severn.

WECA is made up of three of the councils in the region – Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

The ideas are revealed in the WECA's latest joint local transport plan (JLTP), the region’s infrastructure blueprint up to 2036.

No timescales are given and there is no detail on how any charges would be levied.

The JLTP also proposes improving the public transport links between the West of England, Chepstow, Newport, and Cardiff.


The JLTP says scrapping the Severn Crossings tolls was likely to increase delays on already congested sections of the M4 and M5.

It says the result will be more traffic on roads across the West of England, including the northern, eastern and north western fringes of Bristol, the A4 Portway, the A369 and the A46 from the M4 to Bath.

There could also be “increased delay to buses, as they get stuck in additional traffic. Trains could also become less attractive, as the cost of travelling by private car becomes more comparable”.

The JLTP says it is uncertain if improvements to public transport will be enough to counter all the extra traffic and the environmental impact.

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.”