SEV­ERN CROSS­ING TOLLS TO BE SLASHED

South Wales Echo - - FRONT PAGE - RUTH MOS­AL­SKI Re­porter ruth.mos­al­ski@waleson­line.co.uk

THE cost of us­ing the Sev­ern Bridge will be more than halved un­der new govern­ment plans.

Cars, small vans and small buses will pay £3 in tolls from 2018 while larger ve­hi­cles will pay £10. The changes would come into ef­fect when the Sev­ern Cross­ings go into pub­lic own­er­ship in 2018.

The cur­rent price for a car is £6.70 but is only paid when cars are com­ing into Wales from Eng­land.

A pro­posed “free-flow tolling sys­tem”, aimed at re­duc­ing con­ges­tion, would mean cars pay £1.50 each way on both bridges and larger ve­hi­cles would pay £5.

A let­ter to all Welsh MPs and AMs has been sent by Wales Of­fice min­is­ter Alun Cairns and UK trans­port min­is­ter John Hayes.

Min­is­ters say they will of­fer “sub­stan­tial sav­ings for all those who use the cross­ings”.

“Once the cross­ings re­vert to pub­lic own­er­ship, cars will pay only £3, which is more than the 50% re­duc­tion we an­nounced at Bud­get 2016.”

Un­der the plans, cars will pay £3, as will driv­ers of vans and small buses who will ben­e­fit from a 75% re­duc­tion. The largest ve­hi­cles will also get a 50% re­duc­tion.

Those who use the TAG sys­tem will also re­ceive fur­ther dis­counts.

The Govern­ment has said it will con­tinue to look for “fur­ther re­duc­tions if pos­si­ble in the fu­ture”.

At an event in Novem­ber Mr Cairns said he wanted to look at in­tro­duc­ing “free-flow” charg­ing sys­tem on the cross­ings in a move sim­i­lar to the Dart­ford Tun­nel.

Even if charges are in­tro­duced in both di­rec­tions, it is un­der­stood the to­tal cost would re­main at £3. A con­sul­ta­tion on those as­pects of the plans will be an­nounced on Fri­day. But some do not be­lieve the cuts go far enough.

Coun­cil­lor John War­man, from Cam­paign Against Sev­ern Tolls (CAST), said: “The tolls should be aban­doned al­to­gether.”

Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary for Econ­omy and In­fras­truc­ture Ken Skates said: “The Welsh Govern­ment has re­peat­edly called for the tolls to be scrapped once the Sev­ern bridges re­vert to pub­lic own­er­ship and we will con­tinue to lobby the UK Govern­ment for this. We, like com­mu­ni­ties and busi­nesses on both sides of the border, would hope to see this made a re­al­ity at the ear­li­est op­por­tu­nity.”

The Sev­ern Bridge toll station on the Welsh side

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