Row over Severn Bridges tolls as charges rise again today
THE Welsh Government was today accused of failing to support the Welsh economy by not raising the levels of Severn Bridges tolls with Westminster.
The criticism from Plaid Cymru Transport spokesman Jonathan Edwards MP came on the day that crossing charges rose again.
Motorists travelling from England to Wales on the M4 and M48 crossings now pay £6.20 – up from £6 in 2012.
The cost for vans and minibuses rose from £12.10 to £12.40 (2.5 per cent), and the cost for lorries and coaches increased from £18.10 to £18.60 (2.8 per cent).
Plaid Cymru submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Department of Transport asking for details of correspondence between it and the Welsh Government on the level of tolls since May 2011.
In its response the Department of Transport merely listed emails between the Highways Agency and the Welsh Government advising of planned increases in tolls for 2012 and 2013.
Jonathan Edwards MP said: "The lack of complaints over the continued rise of the Severn Bridges tolls once again shows that the Welsh Government are crying crocodile tears when they complain about motorists’ rising costs.
"The tolls rise annually according to RPI inflation index under an Act of Parliament from 1992. This is higher than the CPI inflation, which has now become the norm for inflation, such as pensions upratings – so it is not even the fairest form of inflation.
"While the UK Government have been happy to rip up parliamentary acts for S4C that operated on the same inflation increase basis, they aren’t willing to touch the Severn Bridges – and the Welsh Government haven’t even asked them to consider it."
He added: "I’m sure that neither the UK or Welsh Government have even considered entering into discussion with the private company who owns them to lower the tolls during these tough times."
John Griffiths AM for Newport East said: "Issues around the tolls have been regularly made by First Minister Carwyn Jones and by the Welsh Government in general.
"The tolls need to be reduced and the money needs to be used for infrastructure in Wales and for the people of Wales.
"We continue to raise the case with Westminster as we haven’t had the matter dealt with as we would have liked.
"The Welsh Government has been arguing for the tolls to be run by Wales."