‘Humber tolls cut – what about Severn Bridge?’ Newport AM

BRIDGES CHALLENGE: Newport MP Jessica Morden

BRIDGES CHALLENGE: Newport MP Jessica Morden

First published in Gwent news

A NEWPORT MP has asked what the Chancellor is doing to cut or freeze the cost of using the Severn crossings after Humber Bridge car tolls were slashed in half.

Earlier this month charges for cars on the Humber Bridge were cut from £6 return to £3 – half the price of a journey from England to Wales over the Severn Bridge or Crossing.

Chancellor George Osborne said the reduction in tolls would benefit the economy of Yorkshire and Humber by £250 million.

Jessica Morden, MP for Newport East, says the government has previously stated there was no evidence on the impact of tolls on the Welsh economy.

In a response to the Welsh Affairs Select Committee inquiry into the impact of Severn Bridge tolls, the UK government said there was no quantitative evidence, with no study having been done by previous governments.

Ms Morden said: “But he’s (the Chancellor) conceding just that for Yorkshire and Humber. In Wales, what we want to know is what he is doing to help cut or freeze tolls on the Severn bridges?”

Ms Morden is among several politicians in South East Wales who have called for action on the tolls.

Under the Severn Bridges Act, the bridge operator, Severn River Crossing plc, can raise the cost of the crossings every year by the rate of inflation.

The company runs the crossings under a concession agreement, expected to end in 2017 with the bridges going back into public ownership.

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said the three bridges were built under different regimes, and said tolls could not be reduced without extending the concession.

“In the long run, lower tolls would mean motorists would have to pay more,” she said.

She said: “The Welsh Government is carrying out a study on the economic impact of tolls at the Severn, and we look forward to hearing their report.”


EDITORIAL COMMENT: MP is right to raise concerns

NEWPORT MP Jessica Morden is right to raise the apparent discrepancy between the government’s attitude to toll bridges in England and Wales.

At the beginning of this month the Department for Transport announced it was halving tolls on the Humber Bridge in Hull to benefit the local economy.

Yet the government says there is no evidence of tolls on the Severn bridges having a negative effect on the Welsh economy. The government cannot have it both ways.

The Humber Bridge tolls have been cut to £3 for a return car journey – half the amount car drivers have to pay to get into Wales. The government estimates the move will benefit the local economy by around £250 million.

Quite why this should be the case in Yorkshire but not in Wales is beyond us.

It is our view tolls on the Severn bridges are a disincentive to firms looking to invest in Wales. The government may argue the two cases are different, not least because the Severn bridges are not in public ownership.

But if the experiment with the Humber Bridge proves as beneficial to the local economy as the government claims then the clamour for something similar on the Severn bridges will become deafening.

Comments (10)

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12:54pm Thu 12 Apr 12

paddyparry says...

This is rich coming from a party that had 13 years in government to make changes but did nothing. Now they see it as a political football they can use. We don't forget what any government does, or doesn't do, Jessica.

She is also aware that the Humber and Severn bridges are controlled by different bodies. The Humber is government controlleded but the Severn is owned under contract by the French.

Therefore Ms Morden is knowingly perpetuating a political untruth. This is just a self aggrandising campaign for political points and not actual help for those of us who use the bridge everyday.
This is rich coming from a party that had 13 years in government to make changes but did nothing. Now they see it as a political football they can use. We don't forget what any government does, or doesn't do, Jessica. She is also aware that the Humber and Severn bridges are controlled by different bodies. The Humber is government controlleded but the Severn is owned under contract by the French. Therefore Ms Morden is knowingly perpetuating a political untruth. This is just a self aggrandising campaign for political points and not actual help for those of us who use the bridge everyday. paddyparry
  • Score: 0

11:14pm Thu 12 Apr 12

chris227 says...

yep it certainly was criminal the state that labour left the town in run into the absolute ground and beyond
yep it certainly was criminal the state that labour left the town in run into the absolute ground and beyond chris227
  • Score: 0

9:04am Fri 13 Apr 12

NakedDancer says...

There may be contractual issues with the Severn Bridge tolls but where there's a will there's a way eg the bank bailouts ! As a daily user of the bridge I'm pleased someone is at last challenging this unfair roadtax.
There may be contractual issues with the Severn Bridge tolls but where there's a will there's a way eg the bank bailouts ! As a daily user of the bridge I'm pleased someone is at last challenging this unfair roadtax. NakedDancer
  • Score: 0

2:40pm Fri 13 Apr 12

dark_angel says...

paddyparry wrote:
This is rich coming from a party that had 13 years in government to make changes but did nothing. Now they see it as a political football they can use. We don't forget what any government does, or doesn't do, Jessica. She is also aware that the Humber and Severn bridges are controlled by different bodies. The Humber is government controlleded but the Severn is owned under contract by the French. Therefore Ms Morden is knowingly perpetuating a political untruth. This is just a self aggrandising campaign for political points and not actual help for those of us who use the bridge everyday.
In fact it was the Labour government who kept the price low as low as possible because they deceided to pay the VAT instead of adding it to the price that we pay.
[quote][p][bold]paddyparry[/bold] wrote: This is rich coming from a party that had 13 years in government to make changes but did nothing. Now they see it as a political football they can use. We don't forget what any government does, or doesn't do, Jessica. She is also aware that the Humber and Severn bridges are controlled by different bodies. The Humber is government controlleded but the Severn is owned under contract by the French. Therefore Ms Morden is knowingly perpetuating a political untruth. This is just a self aggrandising campaign for political points and not actual help for those of us who use the bridge everyday.[/p][/quote]In fact it was the Labour government who kept the price low as low as possible because they deceided to pay the VAT instead of adding it to the price that we pay. dark_angel
  • Score: 0

2:41pm Fri 13 Apr 12

dark_angel says...

I think it's a case of racism on the part of the english government.
I think it's a case of racism on the part of the english government. dark_angel
  • Score: 0

8:54pm Fri 13 Apr 12

chris227 says...

well they could stay in wales and have a minimum wage job (stand fast the public sector)
well they could stay in wales and have a minimum wage job (stand fast the public sector) chris227
  • Score: 0

12:07pm Tue 17 Apr 12

sperduti says...

well it would be a big help and see the cost reduced by half at least, i remember when it was 20p to cross the old severn bridge , but it is worth paying some thing to visit bristol bath with the lovely shops etc!!!! makes a great day out!!
well it would be a big help and see the cost reduced by half at least, i remember when it was 20p to cross the old severn bridge , but it is worth paying some thing to visit bristol bath with the lovely shops etc!!!! makes a great day out!! sperduti
  • Score: 0

8:59pm Tue 17 Apr 12

SWBorderer says...

I live in Lincolnshire, why anyone saw the need to build a bridge to Hull I'll never know.
I live in Lincolnshire, why anyone saw the need to build a bridge to Hull I'll never know. SWBorderer
  • Score: 0

1:01am Wed 18 Apr 12

Dee-Gee says...

You should see our bridge - between the not-yet-built shopping centre and the not-yet-developed rugby ground. Great idea, poorly timed.
You should see our bridge - between the not-yet-built shopping centre and the not-yet-developed rugby ground. Great idea, poorly timed. Dee-Gee
  • Score: 0

8:19am Sat 21 Apr 12

chris227 says...

not sure what the idea of the bridge near the university is for so the people of corporation road can have easy access to the pound shop. another waste of money
not sure what the idea of the bridge near the university is for so the people of corporation road can have easy access to the pound shop. another waste of money chris227
  • Score: 0

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