Halving Severn tolls a step in the right direction, says FTA
Wednesday 16 March 2016
News that tolls on the Severn bridges are to be halved has been described as a step in the right direction by the Freight Transport Association.
George Osborne announced as part of his Budget statement today that the Government will halve tolls on the Severn River Crossings, once the Crossings are in public ownership, subject to public consultation. Alongside this, it will also review the costs and benefits for developing a free-flow barrier-free tolling system.
The Severn Bridge tolls are the most expensive in the UK, costing £6.60 for a car, £13.20 for a van and £19.80 for a coach or lorry.
Responding to the Chancellor’s announcement, Ian Gallagher, FTA Head of Policy for the South West and Wales, said: “As always the devil is in the detail – the Chancellor has said that the tolls will be reduced when the bridges are in public ownership but this is subject to public consultation. If the Government must consult, this should be carried out prior to handover so that a reduction in charges is in place from day one.
“FTA would urge the Government to look at starting the process of free-flow technology prior to the handover in 2018.”
The Association has previously stated that the tolls are an unfair burden on both businesses and commuters and called for them to be reduced as soon as possible.
Mr Gallagher added: “Reducing the tolls will be a welcome shot in the arm for businesses and commuters who use the bridges daily, allowing businesses to invest in the things that matter such as new vehicles and staff recruitment.”
It is planned that the bridges, which are administered by Severn River Crossing plc, will revert back to public ownership in 2018. It is predicted that there is likely to be an outstanding debt of approximately £50 million on the bridges at this time.
FTA Press Office