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MP urges toll-free Severn crossing

06 Mar 2014 at 11:21

The MP for the Forest of Dean has called for a new bridge over the Severn river which, he says, should be paid for by taxpayers.

Conservative Mark Harper said a bridge upstream of the Severn Bridge and Second Severn Crossing would be a long-term solution to reducing severe tailbacks at a free crossing close to Gloucester.

Such a crossing - as well as the current Severn bridges - would ideally not have tolls, Mr Harper wrote in a letter to the Highways Agency. He said not to rule out toll cash use from the current bridges if a new one was possible within two years rather than 20.

Welsh MPs argue this scheme could be a drain on South Wales residents, with transport minister Robert Goodwill claiming estuary crossings are paid for by users rather than taxpayers, according to Government policy.

Paul Flynn, MP for Newport West, questioned if Mr Harper was suggesting there should be a bridge from "one thinly-populated part of England to another thinly-populated part of England" that placed a "financial burden" on people living in South Wales, who pay tolls on the main crossing.

Copyright Press Association 2014