Local councils near the Severn Crossing are considering congestion charges to cope with rising traffic levels triggered by the scrapping of tolls on the bridge.

According to the latest local transport plan from the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), "charging measures and controls" may have to be introduced to tackle congestion caused by the removal of tolls on the Severn Crossing in December 2018.

Both the Welsh government and WECA - which includes Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils - say they are concerned about rising traffic levels since the tolls were abolished.

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 DfT, Highways England, Wales Office and the 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."

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A Welsh government spokesman said: "We have had no discussions about the reintroduction of tolls with Highways England but are continuing to work with it to understand the impact of removing the tolls on congestion in South East Wales.

"The South East Wales Transport Commission is continuing its work to examine the longer-term solutions to congestion along the M4 Newport corridor."

However the UK government insisted this week that any congestion charging plans would not include reintroducing tolls on the Severn Crossing.

A spokesman said: “The UK government has no plans to reintroduce tolls or charges on the Severn Crossings.

“We removed the tolls to boost business, enhance inward investment, increase tourism and create jobs on both sides of the Severn. Since their abolition, motorists are collectively saving hundreds of thousands of pounds per day and travel between Wales and south west England has been made easier.”

Rhys Williams, RHA operations manager for Wales, told the problem lies with the lack of infrastructure in the region and called for plans for the M4 relief road to be reinstated.

He said: “The congestion problems have not been caused by the removal of the tolls. The problem lies at the M4/Newport corridor where there is severe congestion, which would have been solved by the M4 Relief Road, which unfortunately has been scrapped. It is no good spending on public transport schemes to boost local economies if the supply chains to local businesses are not fit for purpose.”