Council members represent the district at the Severn Growth Summit

Members of the District Council attended the sell-out Severn Growth Summit at Celtic Manor, Newport on Monday 22 January, at the invitation of the Secretary of State for Wales Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP.

Members were joined by representatives from the Town Councils, Forest of Dean & Wye Valley Tourism, Business in the Community and the Federation of Small Businesses (Gloucestershire & West of England), as well as other organisations and academic groups.

The Minister’s keynote speech focussed on the economic opportunities that will be provided for Wales & England when the Severn Bridge tolls are scrapped by the end of 2018, in a move that will save vehicle owners and haulage companies thousands of pounds per year.

The Minister stated that ending the tolls for the 25 million annual journeys across the Severn bridge will create a natural economic growth corridor spanning from Cardiff through to Newport and Bristol.  This will create an opportunity for a new Western Powerhouse and could see a business collaboration with the capacity to compete with other Government backed economic areas like the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine.

Leader of the Forest of Dean District Council, Tim Gwilliam said: “Collaborating across the border with partners in Wales and the West of England Combined Authority is something we need to support as a district in order to tackle growth barriers together.  Joined up solutions for road and rail transport and first rate digital communications are vital for rural and urban economies to thrive.

“I have written to the Secretary of State to say that we are keen to be involved in this cross border initiative from the start.  I will also be encouraging our Gloucestershire partners to work together to promote future growth that looks beyond the current county boundary.”

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