Leader and Secretary of State visit Severn Bridges

The Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies AM, and the Secretary of State for Transport, the Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, have today visited the Severn Bridges Maintenance Unit.


Following important discussions on the future of the bridges ahead of their return to public ownership, maintenance costs and toll plazas, both also toured the site and met staff.

In a joint article for publication, Mr McLoughlin and Mr Davies said:

For large parts of Wales, the Severn Bridges are seen as the nation's gateway.

The two hugely iconic structures have, since 1966 and 1996, provided a familiar route for motorists in and out of Wales – for business, for pleasure, or otherwise.

Indeed, the toll has been paid hundreds of millions of times by motorists across the country.  For many, the Crossings are a part of daily life.

It is no surprise, therefore, that emotions and passions often run high when discussing the two Severn Crossings. Any decision about their future can have a huge economic impact on Wales.

We view that economic impact as an opportunity to do something good for Wales.

The large volume of discussion, both at Westminster and the National Assembly for Wales, is welcome. When decisions are taken, we are confident that the different voices will all have been heard.

Dialogue in relation to the Crossings is all the more important, at present, ahead of anticipated changes in their ownership that will happen when the current concession expires.

As each day passes, and tens of thousands more cars pass through the toll, we take a step closer to the Crossings reverting to public ownership. 

There is already clarity about one aspect the change will bring: The UK Government has taken welcome steps forward on cost.

At the last Budget it was confirmed that VAT will no longer be payable on the tolls when ownership of the two Bridges is transferred. At the same time, small vans and buses will enjoy price drop, with the fare reduced to the same level as cars. It is important news for motorists.

But while there is work to be done to make payment more affordable, there are also changes that may be required to the tolling system itself.

We must continue to closely consider ways we can help ease congestion in the run-up to the Toll Plazas at Aust and Rogiet; so any set-up helps minimise traffic as the toll is paid.

In achieving this, it is vital to listen to the views of motorists, hauliers and businesses who journey through Toll Plazas – visiting the Bridge on Thursday, we both heard the full range of opinion.

In recent years, developments have already been undertaken to improve traffic flow at both the M48 and M4 Toll Plazas – including the acceptance of credit and debit cards since 2012. 

Now, we must continue to discuss how we support the flow of traffic through this economic artery into Wales; so commuters, tourists and others continue to surge through this gateway to Wales.

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Team @ AberdareOnline

Team @ AberdareOnline

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