This is the last year (2018) that drivers will be required to pay to visit Wales via the Severn Bridge. The UK Government has declared its plans to bring to an end the fees, and it is estimated that the move will boost the Welsh economy by £100 million each year. This move will also save motorists thousands of pounds while crossing into the country.
Although an official date has not been publicised, the Secretary of State Alun Cairns said that it would take one year until the fees are abolished. It is believed that the charges will be withdrawn entirely before New Year’s Eve 2018. From January 8, the costs will be minimised for the motorists going into Wales. Cars are expected to pay £5.60 compared to the earlier fee of £6.70. Small vans and buses will pay £11.20 from the previous £13.40, and coaches and lorries will be charged £16.70 instead of the previous £20.
The Impact of Abolishing the Severn Bridge Tolls on Wales
Mr Cairns is expected to meet the local partners from south-west England and south-east Wales on January 22 at a summit in Newport to discuss how to strengthen the links between the two economies as the move approaches. According to Cairns, the tolls on the Severn Bridge have created a barrier to the economic growth of Wales for more than half a century. A significant economic stimulus should be experienced in south Wales and the Valleys.
Cairns’ decision to scrap the tolls in partnership with the UK Government cabinet is a boost to drivers, tourists that will have extra cash in their pockets as they visit Wales. Cairns says that the tolls’ removal will strengthen the relationship between the communities and economies of south-west England and South Wales. This will create a growth channel that spans from Cardiff to Bristol. Cairns spoke to several business owners who were delighted by the decision, and further cross-border business prospects will be discussed at January summit.
Experts Warn That Freight Will Clog Up M4 after the Move
In his response on the move to scrap the tolls in 2018, Ben Cottam, who works at the Federation of Small Businesses in Wales, asserted that the move was good, but the focus should be moved to decongesting the M4. He acknowledged that the abolition of the tolls was a long-term goal for FSB Wales and that everyone was happy that the UK Government had heard their representations.
Businesses can now build on the removal of the tolls in their business plans since for many companies; this move could be a financial hit as well as an impediment to others. Many members of the FSB will view this as a new opening to work across the border and draw resources and talent from the Southern region. The business fraternity together with the City Region stakeholders needs to consider the opportunities brought by this move. They should market the area as a convenient location to do business, as well tap the opportunities that can boost tourism.