The government should honour its pre-election promise and scrap all charges on the Severn Bridges, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has said.
The toll to cross the two bridges, which span the Severn estuary on the M4 and M48 motorways, into Wales is £20 for an HGV and £13.40 for a van. This, say the FTA, places a massive burden on haulage businesses that have seen year-on-year price increases, costing the sector millions of pounds.
Ian Gallagher, FTA head of policy for Wales and the South West, said: “Removal of tolls on the Severn Bridges has been a key FTA priority for many years, so the election commitment by all parties to end the charges was welcome. FTA members are now looking for a firm guarantee from the Government to deliver on this promise to deliver much needed revenue to business at a time when inflationary pressure continues to grow.”
The administration of the two bridges at the Severn Crossing is due to revert to central government control at the end of this year or in early 2018, when toll charging will automatically end. However, a new charging system is currently planned to replace the tolls and FTA has called on the government must make an announcement to scrap charges altogether at the first opportunity.
Gallagher added that the tolls have been recognised as a barrier to inward investment by FTA members and their customers, and puts Welsh freight operators at a disadvantage when tendering for business in England. “At a time when business needs as much encouragement to grow as possible, it is key that central government delivers on its promise, to help the logistics industry to keep Britain trading,” he said.
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