Don Burgess, Forest of Dean brewery owner, visited Parliament in July to repeat his call for the toll prices on the River Severn bridge to be reduced.

The call comes in a bid to stop traffic diverting through Gloucestershire to avoid paying to cross into Wales.

Mr Burgess, who is also the chairman of the Forest of Dean branch of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) was the only English business representative invited to a discussion about the cost of the toll crossing.

The discussion was hosted by Transport Minister Stephen Hammond in the House of Commons.

Top of the agenda was the ongoing discussion about the Severn Bridge reverting to public ownership in 2018 and how that may change toll fees.

"We received the invite only two days before the actual meeting and I realised it was important for us to be there, so I dropped everything and went to London.

"I was expecting to meet with a minion but it turned out I was part of a full-on enquiry.

"It was great, although we only had 30 minutes allocated to talk about the whole topic," said Mr Burgess.

Chepstow and Monmouth Chambers of Commerce were both invited to participate in the public consultation but both received the invitations after the consultation had taken place.

Mark Harper, the Conservative MP for the Forest of Dean (currently the Minister of State for Immigration) was not present at the meeting.

However he has previously made clear his opinion that control of the bridges will revert to Wales in 2018 and any profits ensuing will go to the Welsh government.

The Severn Bridges of the M4 and M48 are currently operated by a private company and are crossed by about 80,000 people per day.

The Welsh Government wishes to take control of the bridges when they return to public ownership but there is concern they may use the income to finance other projects rather than reduce toll charges.

"The Welsh National Assembly has come up with several creative ways to use the toll, the latest being to spend the money on Welsh infrastructure such as a new M4 relief road.

"Our colleagues made the case at the meeting with Mr Hammond that it would be better to cut the tolls and directly help businesses across both borders, rather than putting money towards improving motorways," said Mr Burgess.

The current estimation by Mr Hammond is that the debt would be around £88 million on handover, which would need to be repaid before tolls can be reduced.

Apart from the fairness of distribution of income from the tolls, there are also economic and ecological impacts at issue.

Mr Burgess was determined the minister be aware that if the costs for the toll keep rising it will have a further detrimental effect on the roads in Gloucestershire, as increasing numbers of HGVs use the A48 as a free gateway into Wales.

"As things stand we have just about the most expensive river crossings in the UK and these tolls constitute a big financial disincentive for HGV operators operating on that east to west run.

"This means that firms are actively trying to avoid paying those toll fees and that has resulted in an overuse of the A48 which is a road which is simply unsuitable for such heavy HGV traffic," Mr Burgess said.

"The stretch of the A48 from Highnam to Lydney is already one of the most dangerous in the area.

"We must do everything we can to help reduce traffic which, in turn, would help reduce the number of accidents. There have been over 50 serious accidents on the road in the last three years and last year was particularly bad.

"The Forest of Dean branch of the FSB had been concerned that the views of small businesses on this side of the border haven't been listened to up to now.

"We are pleased that we are now having a dialogue on this issue and an opportunity to make the voice of small businesses heard," said Mr Burgess.