Cardiff City Council has announced plans for a new daily congestion charge of £2 for non residents who want to drive into the Welsh capital.
The charge would be used to fund the city’s £2 billion efforts to improve public transport, including accelerating the construction of the Cardiff Crossrail tram-train that crosses the city.
While locals will be exempt from the daily charge, it’s been calculated that revenues would be significantly boosted by the 20 million visitors to the Welsh capital each year.
Cardiff’s £2 driving levy: The city council said it is considering a daily charge for motorists who don’t live in the Welsh capital that will help generate funds for a £2bn transport upgrade
The levy on drivers of all vehicles would be in place as part of a 10-year transport plan that would help raise funds for three new stations and the build of the tram system that the city council hopes will be installed by 2024.
It will run from Radyr to the north west of the city across to Cardiff Bay.
The £2 charge for motorists would also help build a further four stations on the route by 2028.
Caro Wild, cabinet member for strategic planning and transport, said the authority would ‘investigate bringing in some form of charging mechanism to fund the infrastructure required in the city and the wider region’ and that a £2-a-day charge on non-local motorists would go a long way to help finance the city council’s plans.
‘One option might be a simple, universal £2, low-charging system applied to non-Cardiff residents who drive into the city,’ he said.
Council leader Huw Thomas added: ‘The future success of Cardiff hinges on getting transport right in the city. There can’t be anyone who is happy with the current state of affairs.’
Cardiff is already under pressure from the government to improve its air pollution levels.
In August 2019 the city council was asked to reconsider the introduction of a Clear Air Zone for vehicles, despite the authority previously ruling out a charge for drivers.
Earlier that year the council said it would not implement a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) in the city and instead submitted plans to reduce harmful nitrogen oxides with active transport initiatives, taxi mitigation measures and retrofitting buses with Adblue systems to make then cleaner.
However, ministers continue to pile on pressure for the authority to ‘better assess the potential’ of a CAZ to cut emissions.
Find out which UK cities have plans in place to introduce Clean Air Zones and ban certain vehicles from their streets in the next three years in our in-detail review.
Cardiff is under pressure to reduce air pollution but recently performed a U-turn on proposals to introduce a Clean Air Zone similar to the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London
The £2 daily charge on non-resident drivers would also be used to help ramp up bus park and ride services, adding more locations on the outskirts of the city.
The cost of bus travel would also be reduced and safer walking and cycling routes added to Cardiff’s streets.
The council said the £2 billion fund would help to ‘offer real travel options designed to get people out of their cars and onto public transport’.
It added: ‘Delivering the vision will require considered partnership working with government, Transport for Wales and other regional partners but the £2 billion cost could be part-funded by a daily road-user-charging scheme, which could include an exemption for Cardiff residents, the council has revealed.’
The plan, announced Wednesday, has received backing from the executive director of public health at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales and professors at the city’s university.