The bell tolls for Severn toll
The government announcement that toll charges on the Severn crossings will be scrapped at the end of next year has been hailed a victory for the Freight Transport Association (FTA). The UK’s biggest transport trade organisation has spent 10 years lobbying for charges to be removed to boost business in Wales and the south west.
Secretary of State for Wales the Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP announced that crossings will be free to all vehicles from the end of 2018.
Ian Gallagher, FTA head of policy for Wales and the South West, said, ‘We have fought long and hard on behalf of FTA members to get these charges removed. They represent a huge financial burden for logistics companies in the area – money that would be better spent on upskilling, recruitment and purchasing greener vehicles.’
The two bridges spanning the Severn estuary on the M4 and M48 motorways in Wales have seen year-on-year price increases, costing the sector millions of pounds. The administration of the two bridges will revert to central government control at the end of this year or in early 2018, when the current charging system will automatically end. It currently costs £20 for an HGV to cross into Wales and £13.40 for a van.
The MP added, ‘The announcement today heralds the death knoll of what are the most expensive tolls in the UK, representing a massive disincentive for inward investment and economic growth across the region, and is warmly welcomed by the Freight Transport Association and its members. Goods vehicle operators will be applauding this decision, a decision which will allow them to reinvest more than £43 million annually collected at the booths – money which can now be reinvested in job creation and improving fleets.’