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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 January 2008, 10:50 GMT
Congestion charging a step closer
Bond Street, central Bristol
There is likely to be opposition to congestion charging
Plans for congestion charging in the West have taken a step forward, following a 700,000 grant to local councils from the government.

The West of England Partnership (WEP) has been given the money to look into how to improve public transport.

Ideas include charging 4 for access to central Bristol and Bath during the weekday rush-hours of 0700 to 1000.

WEP is made up of councils in Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

A spokesperson for WEP said it would not consider introducing congestion charging before 2013 and only then once significant improvements to public transport had been made.

It seems that either this money is to be wasted or the authorities are considering imposing charges despite opposition
National Alliance Against Tolls

Bristol City Council said it was not yet at the stage when it could specify the type of schemes that might be used, but that the same scheme would most likely be used in Bristol and Bath.

Commuters could pay each time they crossed a cordon or buy an area-licensing pass, a spokesman added.

Some form of 'workplace charging' may also be considered for the northern fringe of Bristol - around Filton and Abbey Wood.

A spokesman for the National Alliance Against Tolls, said: "The money that has been doled out is from the Transport Innovation Fund and is only going to authorities that are willing to introduce so called congestion charging.

"The authorities know that if the voters were given a choice on this matter there would be no new charges.

"It seems that either this money is to be wasted or the authorities are considering imposing charges despite the overwhelming opposition to them."

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