Meeting the new man at Gwydyr House

Posted on: Wednesday, 21 July 2010 by Mike Webb in categories Media and campaigns, Westminster, Wales

Following the successful securing of a Welsh Assembly Government study into the Severn tolls, a delegation of FTA staff and members have held initial discussions with the new Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, David Jones MP.

Putting ideas on the table

FTA was able to put across to Mr Jones a number of key ideas which set out why FTA would like to see in the short term a study carried out looking at the English side of the bridge and how it is affected as well as the Welsh side, and in the longer term a more sensible charging structure for the Crossing, which looks at methods of encouraging journeys at non-peak times to reduce congestion and cost to business.

Taking things forward

Mr Jones was quick to point out that any alteration to the funding arrangement before the Bridge returns to public ownership in 2017 would come with a price tag for the Government, and would rely on the Severn River Crossing PLC agreeing to the change. Given the current economic climate and the commitment of the Government to eliminating the national deficit, anything that increases costs to the public purse is a pretty hard sell.

However, although unable to make any firm commitments, FTA found Mr Jones a sympathetic ear to the plight of Welsh businesses. He has agreed both to raise FTA concerns with his relevant ministerial colleagues and to visit a local business in South Wales to see the impact of the tolls up close.

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