Business groups call for cut in Severn Bridge Tolls Fri Dec 27 09:22:00 GMT 2013

"For too long businesses have had to pay high tolls to use the Severn Crossings, which are a vital artery between Wales and England."

Ian Gallagher, FTA's Head of Policy for Wales and the South West

The Federation of Small Businesses in Wales and the Freight Transport Association have today called for an immediate cut in Severn Crossings tolls once the bridges pass into public hands.

In a joint statement issued today, following the recent announcement of a further increase in tolls on the crossings, the organisations have called for the tolls to be reduced to a level where they only cover maintenance costs once the current contract with Severn River Crossing plc comes to an end.

Both the Federation and FTA are concerned that the current tolls levied on hauliers, small businesses and other motorists are damaging the economy of South Wales. A recent report by Arup for the Welsh Government suggested that if the bridge tolls were abolished it could boost economic output in Wales by £107 million.

Ian Gallagher, FTA's Head of Policy for Wales and the South West commented:

"For too long businesses have had to pay high tolls to use the Severn Crossings, which are a vital artery between Wales and England. FTA believes that the tolls must be reduced as soon as the bridges pass into public ownership. As we look to the future, it is clear that the method by which the Seven Crossings were funded is not a suitable blueprint for new infrastructure projects, and we would call for government to steer well clear of any similar schemes."

Iestyn Davies, Federation of Small Businesses Wales - Head of External Affairs said:

"The current system of tolls places an unfair burden on road users to fund bridges that form a vital part of the UK’s transport infrastructure. However, we take some comfort from assurances that we have received from Wales' First Minister, Carwyn Jones, who has told us that if the Welsh Government is given control of the crossings that, after raising sufficient money for maintenance, he would 'look to reduce the toll levels paid by users of the crossings and alleviate the burden on the economy'."


Notes for editors

Media Contacts:

Rhodri Evans (FSB Wales) - 07917 628977
FTA press office – to request an interview with Ian Gallagher call 01892 552255/07818 450425, or email press.office@fta.co.uk

The Arup report can be found at: http://www.senedd.assemblywales.org/documents/s12952/30.05.12%20-%20Executive%20Summary%20The%20Impact%20of%20the%20Severn%20Tolls%20on%20the%20Welsh%20Economy.pdf

The FSB is the UK's leading business organisation with around 200,000 members, 10,000 of whom are in Wales. It exists to protect and promote the interests of the UK's Real-Life Entrepreneurs who run their own business. More information is available at http://www.fsb.org.uk/wales.

FTA represents the transport interests of companies moving goods by road, rail, sea and air. FTA members operate over 220,000 goods vehicles – almost half the UK fleet. In addition they consign over 90 per cent of the freight moved by rail, and over 70 per cent of sea and air freight. You can find more about FTA at http://www.fta.co.uk


 

 

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