FTA celebrates as WAG considers impact of Severn tolls
Monday 05 July 2010
The Freight Transport Association, a long-time critic of ever increasing toll prices on the Severn Crossing, is delighted to learn that the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has taken on board its concerns. In a letter to the leading trade body, Ieuan Wyn Jones, WAG Minister for the Economy and Transport, confirmed that a study into the economic impact of tolls on the Severn Crossings will be taken forward.
FTA met with Mr Jones in May to discuss the need for businesses that use the Severn Crossing to be protected from unfair and unnecessary toll price hikes, as businesses elsewhere in the UK have been, calling for an impact assessment to be undertaken as a matter of urgency.
Ian Gallagher, FTA’s Policy Manager for Wales, said:
“We are pleased that the Welsh Assembly Government has listened to industry and commissioned an independent study into the economic ramifications of constant annual price hikes along this crucial trade corridor. These tolls cost some of our members many tens of thousands of pounds every year, money which could be invested in staff training or greener fleets. Government has seen sense and frozen tolls elsewhere in the UK, it is only fair that the same principles be applied to the Severn.”
Earlier this year, FTA was pleased that the then Labour government were ‘seriously considering proposals to scrap or reduce the tolls’ across the Humber Estuary, whilst forcefully asking why the Severn crossing had not been given the same consideration.
“With goods vehicles paying more to use the Severn crossings than they do for tolls in other parts of the country, companies are effectively being penalised for doing business in Wales. This simply has to stop or else we risk the recovery of the Welsh economy as a whole.”
“We hope that this study will provide government with the robust evidence it needs to take prompt action, as the longer it takes, the greater the damage to businesses.”
Notes for editors
1. The tolls on the Severn are the highest in the UK and rise each year in line with the Severn Bridges Act 1992 and are adjusted by the Retail Price Index.
2. Toll prices on the Severn Crossing increased by 10 pence per lorry in the New Year 2010.
3. FTA has suggested amending the current contract with the bridge’s builders, Severn River Crossing plc, to reduce the level of tolls but to levy them over a longer period of time. This would still accrue the same level of income but would place less of a burden on businesses. FTA is also advocating a lower tariff for night-time crossings for commercial vehicles.
FTA Press Office