Friday, July 21, 2017

UK Government to Scrap Toll Charges for Severn Bridge Crossing

Move Welcomed by Freight and Road Haulage Reps
Shipping News Feature
UK – The British Government today announced that they would be scrapping tolls on the Severn River Crossing, which is the primary road link between England and Wales, from next year. The decision was announced by Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, who said:

“The decision to abolish the Severn tolls next year sends a powerful message to businesses, commuters and tourists alike that the UK Government is committed to strengthening the Welsh economy.

“By ending tolls for the 25 million annual journeys between two nations we will strengthen the links between communities and help to transform the joint economic prospects of South Wales and the South West of England.”

The two bridges that form the crossing, which opened in 1966 and 1996, are used by 25 million vehicles each year at a cost of £6.70 for cars, £13.40 for light commercial vehicles and minibuses, and £20 for coaches and HGVs. The toll is only paid by vehicles entering into Wales.

The expense of the crossing has long been a bone of contention, particularly with representatives of the road haulage lobby, and a study commissioned by the Welsh Government calculated that the removal of the charges could boost the Welsh economy by £100 million. Already several organisations have expressed their support for the move, with Ian Gallagher, the Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) Head of Policy for Wales & Southwest England, saying:

“[This] is excellent news for the growth of the Welsh and south-west economies, a real shot in the arm for those businesses and commuters who use the bridges on a daily basis.

“Removal of the tolls altogether has been a long-term policy position for the Freight Transport Association, with members on both side of the bridges incurring some of the highest tolls charges in the UK, money better spent on upskilling, recruitment and purchasing greener vehicles.”