The Severn Bridge toll is to be scrapped if Theresa May is re-elected in the 2017 general election. The change would make it free to use the Severn Bridge and benefit drivers who must currently pay the toll.
Around 25 million drivers per year are set to benefit from the changes. Charges currently are £6.70 for a standard car but rise to as much as £20 for the largest vehicles. The changes would come into effect in 2018.
It is estimated that abolishing the fees could boost the local economy by around £100million. There are already plans to reduce the fees to £3, and abolishing them altogether was a move supported by commuters in a public consultation that took place earlier this year. The new policy would come into effect new year, which is when Highways England will be taking over the responsibility of the crossing.
The crossing is currently operated by Severn Crossings PLC, who charge from £6.70 for a standard vehicle up to £20 for a vehicle with more than 18 seats or a goods vehicle weighing more than 3,500kg. Severn Crossings PLC was given permission to collect tolls for 25 years in 1992, as part of a deal that allowed a second crossing to be built.
Maintaining the crossings is anticipated to cost £7million per year.
Speaking of the changes, Prime Minister Theresa May said, “I want to ensure that our economic progress is shared across the United Kingdom. By abolishing tolls for 25 million annual journeys between two nations we will strengthen the links between communities.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also announced that he would be working with the Welsh government to scrap tolls if he is elected on June 8th.
Alan Cairnes, Secretary of State for Wales, calls the policy “an example of the Conservatives of taking the big decisions when they’re the right decisions.”
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