NUMEROUS ideas have been proposed to swiftly reduce Chepstow’s congestion and air pollution problems following a ‘fantastic turnout’ of more than 270 people for a public meeting hosted by Transition Chepstow.

Chepstow has one of the highest rates of air pollution in the UK and there’s broad agreement that something needs to be done fast, with roads in the area busier than ever since the removal of the Severn Bridge tolls.

It’s also apparent that finding solutions requires cross-border collaboration.

Among those attending last Thursday’s meeting were Monmouth MP David Davies, Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay, Leader of MCC Cllr Peter Fox, Chair of Monmouthshire Strategic Transport Group, Cllr David Dovey, and MCC Labour leader Cllr Dimitri Batrouni.

There were also Chepstow town councillors and councillors from surrounding areas including England and representatives from Ken Skates AM, Minister for Economy and Transport.

There were several in-depth presentations, including proposals for changing the layout at Highbeech roundabout, lift sharing and encouraging more children to walk to school.

Local residents also put forward ideas including improving public transport, encouraging active travel and a Hayes Gate junction to divert traffic from Rogiet and Caldicot off the Highbeech roundabout.

At the end of meeting, chaired by Transition Chepstow Co-ordinator Tim Melville, a vote was taken on the top five resolutions.

Improving public transport came top with 90 per cent, closely followed by improving traffic flow at Highbeech roundabout using white lines (85 per cent).

Major redevelopment of Highbeech roundabout gained 70 per cent of support and the Hayes Gate junction option and increased active travel 50 per cent each.

There was also very strong support for a bypass, but this was outside the remit of the meeting.

In a statement Ken Skates AM applauded Transition Chepstow’s initiative in bringing people together to discuss possible solutions.

“My officials will brief me fully after the event and I will give careful consideration to any solutions that can be taken forward,” he said.

Monmouth AM Nick Ramsay said: Transition Chepstow’s proposal to reconfigure the Highbeech Roundabout was interesting and worthy of further investigation by the Welsh Government.

“We also need to look at improving public transport and increasing frequency and reliability of train services. The Welsh Government’s development of the South Wales Metro will be key to this.

“Ultimately Chepstow’s congestion problems cannot be viewed in isolation from the issue of a bypass. Whilst not being the whole answer, a bypass is necessary to provide vehicles travelling to and from Gloucestershire with a swift, alternative route.

“If, as seems increasingly likely, the Welsh Government abandons its proposals for the £1.4 billion M4 relief road around Newport, then I will be pressing for at least some of the funding that has been earmarked for that project to be made available to develop a bypass for Chepstow as soon as possible.”

* Anyone wanting to get involved in shaping the proposals should contact Tim on [email protected] People with a good knowledge of public transport infrastructure developments would be particularly welcome.