Festive boost for freight

Festive boost for freight as Severn tolls are axed

The freight sector has received a welcome festive boost today with the abolition of the tolls across both the Prince of Wales and original Severn Crossings. 

The abolition of the tolls, following an announcement by the Government last year, marks a historic moment for Anglo-Welsh logistics, according to the Freight Transport Association (FTA), after years of campaigning.

Sally Gilson, FTA’s Head of Policy for Wales, explained: “After so many years of campaigning to abolish the Severn Bridge tolls, FTA’s members thought this day would never come. The Severn bridge tolls have served as a consistent barrier to economic growth and an unfair burden to both employers and employees alike as they cross between England and Wales. Our members spend millions of pounds each year on the tolls, money that can now be reinvested to help grow business, develop skills and the purchasing of greener fleets. 

“This has been such an important issue for FTA and its members. FTA and its members have been working with local MPs to raise the profile of this cause for many years and we are pleased that the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns made this a priority.” 

A vehicle from transport company Owens Group was the first to cross the bridge for free. Ian Jarman, Manager of the Owens Group, commented: “We have been campaigning with the FTA for many years to remove the tolls – they have always been a barrier to trade in Wales and South West of England. As a company, we intend to invest the savings into greener technologies.”

Hauliers, who were paying £16.70 to cross the River Severn, welcomed the move but have also questioned what impact it might have on the road network.

At the time of the announcement, Road Haulage Association Chief Executive Richard Burnett said: “Removing the tolls will be a tremendous boost to businesses who use these major routes.

“However, the increase in traffic will inevitably put more strain on the road network. If the infrastructure can’t cope then the benefits will be offset by the increase in congestion.”