FTA celebrates important Severn first step

Posted on: Wednesday, 7 July 2010 by Mike Webb in categories Media and campaigns, Westminster, Wales

Finally, there is something to cheer for the logistics industry in Wales, with the news that Ieuan Wyn Jones has agreed to set up a study into the effects of the Severn Crossing tolls on the local economy.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander

Earlier this year, the Deputy First Minister sat down with a delegation of FTA staff and members, and listened to the strong case for such a study. This in turn could provide for the Severn the kind of strong evidence base that a previous study did in relation to the Humber Crossing. This study made clear to the previous Government the urgent need to hold back on toll increases to protect local businesses.

Commenting on the news, FTA’s Policy Manager for Wales, Ian Gallagher 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.”

The road is long

Although a significant breakthrough in providing some much-needed research on the impact of the Severn tolls, there is much more to be done before the logistics industry in Wales and South West England will feel a material benefit in their bottom line. The bridges have not been devolved to the WAG, and so FTA will be continuing to take their discussions to the new Government in Westminster over the coming months. A first step will be to meet with the new team at the Wales Office, and FTA will be discussing the Severn with the new junior minister, David Jones, in the next couple of weeks.

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