Many business groups have insisted that the fee charged for crossing the Severn Bridge should be reduced once the government owns it. These groups have also added that these fees should only encompass the cost of maintaining the bridge because of the drain on the economy on both the Welsh sides of the Severn and the English.
The fees are also said to increase on 1 January meaning that small buses and small good vehicles will have to pay more that is £12.80, which is an increase of 40p. In addition, cars will pay £6.40, which is a rise of 20p while buses and heavy goods vehicles will have to pay £19.20, an increase of 60p.
Currently a private company owns the Severn Bridge but the ownership is soon to pass to the government. However, this will happen when the fees charged for the bridge reach £996million at 1989 prices. Ian Gallagher from the Freight Transport Association said that the Freight Transport Association believes that these fees should be reduced as soon as the government owns them. He also said that this should happen, as business owners were facing some challenges as they are forced to pay the fee due to the bridges being the main form of transportation between Wales and England.
Ian Gallagher also said that he believes that in future the government should avoid similar schemes of funding such as the Severn crossings as it is not a suitable one to be used for other new infrastructure projects.
A spokesperson for the Department for transport said that the department was committed in ensuring that the Severn Crossing continued to operate successfully. In addition, the spokesperson said that no decisions have been made concerning the paying of the crossings even after the current agreement.
On the other hand, a consultant’s report shows that if the Bridge were destroyed it would improve the economy in Wales by £107 million. Furthermore, numerous vehicles use the M48 and the M4 bridges every day and this number comes to about 80,000 vehicles.