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‘Openness’ required on Severn toll plans say MP and FTA

06 March 2014 #Bus and Coach #CV Sector #Logistics #News #Policy #Trailer #Truck #Van

News from the Freight Transport Association: The Freight Transport Association has backed the call by Newport East MP Jessica Morden for ‘openness’ from the Treasury about what it intends to do with the Severn tolls when the bridges revert to public ownership in 2018.

Leading the debate in House of Commons today, the Labour MP called for ministers to say whether or not they will reduce the tolls or keep them in place.

Ian Gallagher, FTA’s Head of Policy – Wales & South West said, “This type of debate, which was secured by Jessica Morden, ensures that this important issue remains high up the political agenda. Unfortunately the outcome still leaves FTA members, who pay many thousands of pounds to cross the bridges, uncertain about the future with many questions still unanswered.”

On behalf of its members, who pay hundreds of thousands of pounds in tolls at the Severn Crossing, FTA has long campaigned on the issue which was duly recognised during the Commons debate by the Minister today.

Mr Gallagher added, “FTA’s view is that tolls should be reduced post concessionaire to cover maintenance only. To ask users to continue to pay for infrastructure which has been paid for many times over is fundamentally wrong.

Roads Minister Robert Goodwill recently appeared before the Transport Select Committee and said the DfT had no secret agenda to introduce road tolls following the decision to scrap such proposals for the A14.

The commitment does not cover existing tolls such as those at the Severn and Dartford, or new projects such as the new Lower Thames Crossing project which will be announced later this year.

The DfT is also consulting on proposals to give local authorities the power to increase tolls below the rate of inflation at 12 council-run crossing points in the UK.

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