Campaign to link Gloucestershire and the Forest of Dean launched by ambitious councillor.

A councillor in the Forest of Dean has launched a campaign for a third crossing over the River Severn, to link Gloucestershire and the Forest of Dean. Lydney district and town councillor Bill Hobman believes that an additional crossing would provide a “massive economic boost” to the area, and has formed the Third River Crossing Committee with five fellow councillors and members of the economic partnership Gloucestershire First to champion the idea. He said the committee has the backing of several town councils in the Forest of Dean, as well as Stroud District Council and the Gloucestershire Association of Paris and Town Councils.

"The River Severn is dividing the county," he said. He wants to launch a feasibility study into restoring the former Severn Rail Bridge, which was destroyed in an accident 45 years ago.

He said: "The idea is to see what advantages there are for everybody. It would help regenerate the Forest, which is virtually isolated."

The site is 20 miles from the Old Severn Crossing at Aust. Opponents say that another bridge would generate more traffic and more congestion and be a waste of public funds. Lib Dem councillor for Wotton-Under-Edge Dr John Cordwell described the plans as “a pipe dream.”

He said: "The Tory cabinet seems to be confused and unable to focus on the real traffic problems facing Gloucester and Cheltenham. The county needs solutions to traffic congestion now and in the next few years. Another Severn bridge crossing is not the answer for commuters and businesses in the Severn Vale."