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Severn Bridge tolls to be axed by Christmas

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FOLLOWING up the commitment made by the Prime Minister Theresa May, Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns has confirmed that all tolls will be scrapped with free flow traffic on the Prince of Wales bridge and the original Severn Crossing between Wales and England ahead of schedule on December 17, 2018.

After 50 years of tolls of up to £20 per vehicle, Theresa May’s Conservatives chose to scrap tolls for the 25m vehicles per year using the crossings that support the key route between South Wales and the West of England.

The Secretary of State for Wales confirmed that, ahead of the great festive getaway, tolls will be abolished completely and permanently to make way for a new economic powerhouse between South Wales and the West of England.

The decision will, for the first time, combine the economic might of a growing Welsh economy and the West of England to further spread prosperity across the United Kingdom.

Regular commuters will enjoy free flow journeys and save over £1,400 per year in toll charges from mid-December – transforming the economic opportunities on both sides of the Severn. It is estimated that scrapping tolls will provide an immediate benefit of over £100m per year for Wales, over a billion pounds of economic benefit to Wales over the next decade.

Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, said: “My number one aim when I became Secretary of State for Wales, was to do away with tolling that for half a century has restricted and distorted the growth and connections of the Welsh economy. Wales will be more open for business than ever after the Conservatives deliver on this commitment. Scrapping tolls before the festive period is an early Christmas present for hard-working commuters who will be £1,400 per year better off.

“This is just the start of my plan to pursue yet more growth for a stronger and a better-connected Wales. Scrapping the Severn tolls is an example of the Conservatives ensuring that all four nations of the UK thrive after Brexit, in doing so, transforming the joint economic prospects of South Wales and the West of England.

“This direct intervention will guarantee that links are strengthened and enhanced between the natural economic areas of South Wales and the West of England.”

Prime Minister, Theresa May, said: “By abolishing tolls for 25million annual journeys between two nations, the Conservatives are sending a positive, open-for-business message. Toll-free, free flow journeys between both communities will drive further economic benefits to all areas surrounding the crossings and the key economic centres in Cardiff, Bath, Bristol, Newport and across to Swansea and West Wales.

“By removing a major added cost of doing business between Wales and England, the Conservatives continue to deliver on improving the economic prospects of working people. With this major step, we are encouraging a close bond between two nations as part of the United Kingdom, whilst driving economic growth right across the country.”

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Heroin could be linked to Aberysytwyth supply

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A LIVERPOOL man has admitted possessing heroin that could be linked to drugs supplied in Aberystwyth.

Jack English, aged 20, pleaded guilty to possessing a quantity of heroin with intent to supply when he appeared at Swansea Crown ccourt for a plea and trial preparation hearing before Judge Keith Thomas.

The court heard the drugs could also be linked to English’s father, who had been a heroin user who had ‘gone to Aberystwyth on many occasions’ and who had died since his son’s arrest in October 2017.

Judge Thomas said he would sentence English on January 11.

English, of Storrington Road, was granted bail meanwhile but warned that a jail sentence was the most likely outcome.

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Mark Drakeford named next First Minister

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THE NEXT First Minister of Wales will be Mark Drakeford, it has been announced this afternoon (Dec 6).

Mr Drakeford, a Cardiff West AM, was named as the winner of the Welsh Labour leadership contest at the Principality Stadium.

The contest was triggered when Carwyn Jones, the current First Minister, announced he was stepping down.

Mr Jones will officially step down on Tuesday (Dec 10).

Mr Drakeford will then be officially confirmed as the new First Minister of Wales by the National Assembly next week.

In the first round of voting, the results were:

Mark Drakeford – 46.9%
Vaughan Gething – 30.8%
Eluned Morgan – 22.3%

Eluned Morgan’s votes were then redistributed on voters’ second preferences, with the following results:

Mark Drakeford – 53.9%
Vaughan Gethin – 46.1%

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Met Office issue yellow weather warning for Friday morning

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THE MET OFFICE has warned of strong winds and heavy rain across South and West Wales as they have issued a yellow weather warning for rain on Friday (Dec 7).

Between 1am and 9am, spells of rain, heavy at times and accompanied by windy weather, are likely to produce 20-40mm of rain.

Coming after some recent wet weather, this rain is likely to lead to some temporary flooding impacts before the rain clears early Friday morning.

The Met Office are warning people that flooding of a few homes and business is likely, bus and train services, as well as roads, will probably be affected, with journey times taking longer.

Natural Resources Wales also has a flood alert in place in Pembrokeshire. Due to restrictions at the tidal outfall, river levels in the River Ritec in the Salterns area of Tenby are likely to remain high for a number of days.

River levels are rising slightly as each high tide arrives. The combination of ground conditions, existing river levels and forecast rainfall quantities gives a high risk of flooding of low-lying land during the next couple of days.

This comes a week after Yellow Weather Warnings were issued across Wales as Storm Diana brought extreme winds and heavy rain to the country.

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