UK Government: Severn Bridge toll to be abolished in 2018
We’re not huge fans of tolls here at Big Motoring World. It’s not about just the inconvenience of having to break your journey to search in your pocket for some change from time to time - for motorists who have to use tolled routes regularly, the cost can become prohibitive.
Taking a toll
Tolls feel like a brake on free movement and can impact negatively on people’s ability to commute regularly or run their businesses. So, the broad agreement by most of the leading parties during the last general election to agree to scrap the Severn Bridge toll was a welcome development. The Severn Bridge was first built in 1966, but the current tolls came into effect in 1992 when a second crossing was built. Since then, 25 million drivers a year have had to pay fees running from £6.70 for cars and £20 for lorries up to £396 a month season tickets for larger vehicles. The government has now made good on their election pledge by announcing that charges will end next year.
A boost for the area
Scrapping the tolls is set to bring huge benefits to the local economies, on both sides of the crossing. The tolls have never been popular - and have even been described by some people as a ‘tax on Wales’. Back in A 2012 a Welsh Government report suggested that ‘removing the tolls would boost productivity by in the order of 0.48% which would translate to an increase in the annual Gross Value Added (GVA) of South Wales of around £107m’. That’s a huge deal, and it remains to be seen if cutting the charges has the desired effect.
An historic decision
“The decision to abolish the Severn tolls next year sends a powerful message to businesses, commuters and tourists alike that the UK Government is committed to strengthening the Welsh economy,” says Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns. “By ending tolls for the 25 million annual journeys between two nations, we will strengthen the links between communities and help to transform the joint economic prospects of south Wales and the south-west of England.”