Severn tolls set to be cut before they are scrapped
THE Severn Crossing tolls will be reduced in January when both bridges return to public ownership, it has today been announced.
After the Severn Crossings return to public ownership on January 8, 2018, the rate will be reduced on both bridges for all drivers.
Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns announced the decision, saying the move was “yet another strong indicator that Wales is open for business”.
From January 8, cars will pay £5.60 instead of £6.70, small buses or vans will pay £11.20 instead of £13.40, and lorries and coaches will pay £16.70 instead of £20.
Today’s announcement comes after July’s confirmation that the UK Government will abolish the tolls altogether at the end of next year.
It will be the first time the tolls have been reduced since they were introduced in 1966. The normal annual inflation increase, due on January 1 will also not be applied.
It’s previously been estimated that getting rid of the tolls will boost the South Wales economy by around £100m a year, while motorists could save more than £1,400 per year (based on a monthly charge of £117.92 over 12 months).
Mr Cairns announced the news to Welsh business representatives at the CBI Wales Regional Council meeting in Newport, where he was also outlining how the UK Government is working towards its exit from the EU.
Today also sees the UK Government publish its response to the consultation on its proposals to reduce the Severn Crossing tolls launched earlier this year.
In light of the responses, the Government confirmed it will not press ahead with halving the tolls, but instead commit to abolishing the tolls entirely at the end of 2018.
Mr Cairns said: “For so many years the tolls on both Severn Crossings have been seen as an economic and symbolic barrier to Wales’ future prosperity.
“Our decision to reduce the tolls – before abolishing them altogether – will cut costs for businesses, for commuters and tourists alike, helping boost jobs and trade in Wales and across the SouthWest.
“This is yet another strong indicator that Wales is open for business and of the UK Government’s commitment to making the right decisions for Wales’ future as part of a strong United Kingdom.”
The Severn Bridge was opened in 1966 and the construction of the second crossing was completed three decades later.