CONGESTION charges in cities in Wales and across the UK are "inevitable", according to transport commission chairman Lord Terry Burns.

Ahead of the publication of the commission's Emerging Conclusions report looking at alternatives to the M4 relief road, Lord Burns spoke to journalists about the commission's preliminary findings.

Lord Burns highlighted charging people for using the city's roads as a way of easing congestion, but admitted he was not comfortable recommending this until public transport offered an adequate alternative.

"I would be surprised if there wasn't a much greater use of charging than today," he said.

"The particular issue here is it is difficult to introduce a charge until you give [commuters] an alternative. Otherwise, it is just a tax."

Lord Burns said the phasing out of petrol and diesel cars in favour of electric vehicles would lead to governments looking to make up for the lost income by introducing congestion charges.

"It seems to be inevitable when it comes to charging for using roads in cities," he said.

Lord Burns said he hoped the commission's proposals would be delivered in the next five to ten years, and possibly sooner if there is a large take up of electric vehicles.

Looking at the more immediate future, he said the commission would look in to how the coronavirus pandemic affects attitudes to working from home - which he highlights in the report as one way to help ease the bottleneck of traffic during rush hour.

"It is going to be interesting to see how this recent experience of people working from home develops as time goes on," he said.

"We are looking at that, but there is not a lot to base that on at the moment.

"Around 30 per cent of people have been working from home, and another 30 per cent have been furloughed.

"There's still a lot of people that are working from home. To what extent will things go back to normal? To what extent will people decide they do not need to be in the office five days a week? This is something only time will tell.

"It will depend on how long social distancing is on the agenda.

"That will depend on the feeling that the spread of the infection is under control. We are not likely to get there until after next winter."

When asked if there would be any recommendations in restoring public confidence in using public transport as we exit the pandemic, Lord Burns said that was not in the commission's remit, but they needed to make sure they provided the opportunity for people to switch to public transport.