A DECISION to overlook the Chepstow bypass project for priority status is "bitterly disappointing", Monmouth MP David Davies has said.

The next stage of the investigation into the viability of a Chepstow bypass – the so-called WelTAG2 report – will cost £1 million.

The UK government would have contributed one-third of that funding if the project had been prioritised by the Western Gateway Sub-national Transport Body, which covers southwestern England,

but Gloucestershire County Council confirmed on Tuesday that the Chepstow bypass project had been turned down by Western Gateway


“The idea of a Chepstow bypass, linking the Forest of Dean directly with the junction of the M48 Severn Bridge, has been an aspiration since the 1960s but, historically, the issue has been neglected by all branches of government on both sides of the border – and we now have a major problem,” Mr Davies said.

“Traffic bottlenecks on the A48 at Hardwick Hill and A466 have suffocated the town, while air pollution levels exceed limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“With the end of tolls on the two Severn bridges and several hundred new homes planned either side of the River Wye, further development will cripple Chepstow unless these road infrastructure challenges are tackled."

Mr Davies said he hoped the UK government would still help to fund WelTAG2, and said he would be writing to the Welsh Office seeking this commitment.

Monmouthshire councillor Armand Watts said the public were "quite rightly upset".

"People make a lot of noise about the bypass but I genuinely think it's not going to happen," he added.

Speaking to the Argus, Cllr Watts said proposed housing developments had "exacerbated" Chepstow's infrastructure problems and called for more to be done to address existing issues "before we look at developing Chepstow further".

Western Gateway was contacted for comment on its decision not to give the Chepstow bypass project priority status.