EFFORTS to reduce traffic on the M4 in Newport should not – currently – involve any form of congestion charge, the region's transport commission has said.

The South East Wales Transport Commission was tasked with finding alternative ways to improve transport in the region, following the decision to scrap the M4 relief road plan.

Today, the commission unveiled its vision for a state-of-the-art, integrated public transport network connecting Newport's city centre and suburbs with neighbouring commuter destinations in Cardiff and Bristol.


But amid the proposals to encourage user choice and reduce people's reliance on the car, there is an acknowledgement that some form of "road user charging" would also help cut the number of vehicles travelling on the motorway.

In its initial report, published in July, the transport commission said a congestion charge was among the possibilities at the Welsh Government's future disposal.

But today, in its final report, the commission recommended such a charge should not be introduced unless a UK-wide scheme of "road user charging" was announced.

The commission predicts this could be something the UK treasury announces in the next 10-15 years, given the likely drop in road-tax revenue as more people move to greener forms of transport.

But if a congestion charge were introduced in South East Wales, the commission said it should charge drivers who travel at peak times through areas with the worst congestion and air quality.

Any M4 charge would likely impact congestion on local roads, the commission added.

But another form of charging could be attractive for councils.

The commission said there was "a good case" for councils to introduce a "workplace parking levy", which would charge firms for the number of parking spaces they provide to employees.

Such a measure could raise £2.7 million for other public transport projects, the commission estimates.

But the notion comes with a warning – authorities should not consider charging road users unless there are reliable, sufficient transport options already in place.

"In terms of transport options, we are clear that alternatives must exist before local charges can be considered," the commission said.