FTA gives evidence to Severn tolls inquiry

Tuesday 19 October 2010

The Freight Transport Association gave oral evidence today to the Welsh Affairs Committee (WAC) at the House of Commons, calling for an inquiry into what it has labelled ‘gratuitous and cynical price hikes’ on the Severn crossing tolls.

The leading trade body was joined by Denise Lovering of South Wales based Glenside Commercials in putting across its views to the WAC, which was chaired by former haulier and MP for Monmouth, David Davies.

Ian Gallagher, FTA’s Policy Manager for Wales, said:

“Severn tolls are the highest in the UK and simply unsustainable for many companies that use this vital trade corridor. Allowing this policy of unchecked and unfair price hikes to continue unabated could have dire consequences for business and the Welsh economy as a whole.

“We are delighted that our concerns are being voiced at the highest level and we are encouraged by Mr Davies’ apparent enthusiasm for looking more closely at the real impact of the Severn tolls on the businesses that have no choice but to use the crossing.”

The oral evidence session follows written submissions from FTA as part of the WAC’s study into the Severn Crossing tolls. The evidence has focused on:

• The impact of the tolls on the Welsh economy including businesses, local residents and tourists
• The current level of toll prices and the available methods of payment
• The current condition of the bridges and the costs associated with ongoing maintenance
• The future of the bridges after the crossings have reverted to public ownership

Notes for editors

1. The tolls on the Severn are the highest in the UK and rise each year in line with the Severn Bridges Act 1992 and are adjusted by the Retail Price Index.

2. Toll prices on the Severn Crossing increased by 10 pence per lorry in the New Year 2010.

3. FTA has suggested amending the current contract with the bridge’s builders, Severn River Crossing plc, to reduce the level of tolls but to levy them over a longer period of time. This would still accrue the same level of income but would place less of a burden on businesses. FTA is also advocating a lower tariff for night-time crossings for commercial vehicles.


FTA Press Office

01892 552255