Last week, on the 20th of July, it was announced that hey Severn crossing toll charges will be scrapped. The Government released their plan to get rid of the tolls by the end of next year, and the news has been welcomed. The toll charges were disliked by many, and the Freight Transport Association, or the FTA has been lobbying for the past 10 years to try and get the charges removed.
It is felt that the Severn crossing charges have had a negative impact on the business in Wales and the south west, and with these charges being removed, business is expected to improve. The tolls were applied to two bridges that cross the Severn estuary, the prices for which have been increasing rapidly. The roads that cross the estuary, the M4 and the M48 motorways have had to cope with price increases year on year. These increases have been costing the sector millions each year. Now, the administration of the two bridges in question on the Severn will go back to being under the control of the central government. This change back to government control will take place at the end of this year or at the beginning of 2018. At this point, the toll charges for the two bridges will cease to be implemented.
At the moment, HGV drivers are having to pay £20 to cross the estuary on these roads, and vans have to pay £13.40. These charges building up over time could mak carrying out business in this area unprofitable, deterring companies from working in this area and hampering the business prospects.
The Secretary of State for Wales, the Rt Hon Alun Cairns MP first made the announcement that by the end of 2018, all crossings on the Severn Bridges will be free. The Head of Policy for Wales and the South West at the FTA, Ian Gallagher has expressed his delight at the news, saying that the tolls have a negative impact on logistics companies by adding an extra unnecessary financial burden. Ian Gallagher also said that the news on the Severn tolls is the start of the end of expensive tolls around the UK that hinder logistics companies.