Welsh Labour has raised ideas to introduce tolls on two of Wales’s busiest roads to tackle air pollution. It comes as First Minister Mark Drakeford has been criticised for plans to speak at an event attended by Jeremy Corbyn.
In a survey sent to Welsh motorists, Welsh Labour has asked whether drivers would pay to use parts of the M4 motorway and A470.
The survey said a “clean air zone” is not proposed “at this stage”.
The Government survey asked drivers if their commuting or travelling habits would change if some vehicles had to pay to use those stretches of road.
It suggested a charge from January 2023 for the M4 between junctions 25 and 26 through the congestion pinch point at the Brynglas Tunnels in Newport and between Pontypridd and Upper Boat on the A470 in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Andrew Robert Tudor Davies CBE, Leader of the Welsh Conservative Group, took to Twitter to mock the plans.
He said: “Labour want to introduce tolls on the M4 and A470.
“A ‘drivers tax’ is a kick in the teeth for hardworking people, and would hit the poorest in our society.
“Another sure fire way to continue to hold back the Welsh economy.”
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Councillor Sam Trask, chairman of Rhondda Cynon Taf Conservatives, told the BBC he was asked to take part in the survey.
He skewered the proposal, and said: “I drive a nine-year-old diesel car and, were I able to afford one, I’d already be driving a less-polluting car.
“I feel that if the Welsh government are going to charge me to use a road that I normally use twice a day to go back and forth to work, then they’re actually going to put that aspiration even further out of reach and I’m going to be even less likely to be able to afford a better car.
“I think if these proposals were to go ahead, they would adversely affect the poorest in our society unfairly because these are the kinds of people who can’t afford a more modern electric car.”
It comes as The Board of Deputies has joined calls for Mark Drakeford to withdraw from The World Transformed event this month – the “alternative” Labour conference that features Jeremy Corbyn and Ken Loach as speakers.
Board President Marie van der Zyl said she was “deeply concerned” about the First Minister’s appearance at the four-day festival, which runs alongside Labour’s conference in Brighton.
She said: “It cannot be fitting for the First Minister and Welsh Labour leader to participate in events with people who have been suspended or expelled from Labour for their role in the party’s antisemitism crisis over recent years.”
One Labour councillor dubbed the event as a “Trot jamboree” to The Jewish Chronicle.
It also comes as Labour continues to struggle in the polls under Sir Keir Starmer.
YouGov’s latest survey on voting intention, released on August 27 with 1,754 respondents, found 31 percent of Brits would vote for Labour in a General Election.
The survey also found 27 percent of Brits think Sir Keir would make the best Prime Minister, compared to 32 percent for Boris Johnson.
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