(Image: Ben Summer)

No current proposals for Cardiff congestion charge, says council

Council asked to rule out potential charge during late-night debate

A DECISION on whether to introduce a congestion charge in Cardiff will be an issue for the next council after a contentious late-night council meeting.

With elections due to take place on May 5, Conservative Councillor Joe Williams tabled a motion asking the current council to rule out a congestion charge on the basis that it would negatively impact the city’s economy, including its residents, businesses, and tourist industry.

Cllr Williams said: “Cardiff residents are entitled to know where parties stand on the issue of a congestion charge in Cardiff.

“A congestion charge would punish hard-working Cardiff residents and would be catastrophic for our businesses.

“Cardiff needs a business-friendly council, not one which wants to charge people for supporting businesses in the city centre when the public alternatives to driving in Cardiff are often so lacking.”

But current Labour Transport cabinet member Caro Wild dismissed the move as the council is about to break for political campaigning ahead of next month’s election and instead tabled an amendment to the motion.

Cllr Wild said: “The cabinet has no proposals for a congestion charge and as the pre-election period starts tomorrow there is no time for us to even consider it in 24 hours.

“In 2020, the council’s white paper committed to a number of avenues to fund £1-2bn worth of transport improvements, but this would have to be funded and when it comes to funding, we have stated that we are prepared to look at all options.

“If a charging scheme would be deemed suitable, we indicated that we would prefer a smaller fee and that our preferred option would include an exemption for Cardiff residents from any charge.”

The Labour amendment was carried by a vote of 39 for, 23 against with 7 abstaining.

Prior to the meeting, a £2-a-day congestion charge was suggested in January 2020 as part of a funding scheme for a new tram-train cross rail in the capital.

The matter will be considered further after the May 5 local government elections.