Release Date: 23 March 2010
Release ID: 4606
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has questioned the consistency of government policy as proposals to scrap tolls on the Humber Bridge moved another step closer yesterday. Reacting to Transport Minister Sadiq Khan’s announcement that he was ‘seriously considering proposals to scrap or reduce the tolls’ across the Humber Estuary, the leading trade body has asked why the Severn crossing has not been given the same consideration.
Ian Gallagher, FTA’s Policy Manager for Wales, said:
“It is terribly inconsistent of the government to acknowledge the need to take a principled approach to protecting businesses from unfair and unnecessary tolls, while blatantly ignoring the huge cost to industry of unabated and seemingly arbitrary price hikes on the Severn crossing.”
Goods vehicles pay more to use the Severn crossings than they do for tolls in other parts of the country, but neither the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) nor the Westminster government intervened when tolls were raised in the New Year by a further 10 pence per lorry.
“Tolls cost some of our members many tens of thousands of pounds a year, money which could be invested in staff or greener fleets, for example. The lack of political will to help those struggling to do business in Wales is astounding and it is unacceptable that the same common-sense measures being considered for the Humber crossing are not being extended to the Severn.”
Denise Lovering of Glenside Commercials Ltd, a company operating on both sides of the Severn, said:
“It is obvious that the government will not take any action to help users of the Severn crossings until they have evidence to show the impact of the tolls in this region too, and a study should be undertaken as a matter of urgency. Businesses and people in this region are still being badly affected by the recession and a reduction in the tolls would put a lot of money back into the Welsh economy.”
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