Christmas is coming early for users of the Severn Bridges.
The controversial tolls which have operated since the early 1960s will be abolished on 17 December,
The news has been welcomed by the Freight Transport Association, the only business group representing all of logistics, welcomes this news after campaigning for the removal of the tolls for a number of years.
As Sally Gilson, FTA’s Head of Policy for Wales, said, “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.
“The removal of the tolls will provide a much needed boost to logistics businesses in both the South West and South Wales, unlocking new potential for growth in the region and ensuring that businesses along the Severn estuary are able to trade effectively during a challenging economic climate.
“Removal of the tolls has been a long-term policy position for FTA, with members on both sides of the bridges incurring some of the highest toll charges in the UK just to go about their daily work. Our members spend millions of pounds on the crossings every year.”
The FTA is also hoping for another present from the Government with possible fixing of the fuel duty rather than a rumoured increase.
Any rise in the level of fuel duty in the autumn Budget would stifle revenues for the government while imposing a direct cost on the businesses driving the UK economy, according to the FTA.
The current rate of fuel duty paid by UK logistics operators is already one of the highest in Europe, and research conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research has shown the negative effect that further duty increases would have on the economy, and thus other Government tax revenues.