TODAY marks the first time since their introduction 1966 that Severn Crossings tolls have not gone up - and there will be another 'first' next Monday, in the form of a price fall.

Regular commuters between England and south Wales are used to having to fork out extra money to cross the Severn Bridge or Severn Crossing as the New Year dawns with an annual inflation increase.

But not in 2018 - and the price decreases to apply from next Monday are the first step towards the abolition of the tolls by the end of the year.

From Monday January 8, when the Severn Crossings return to public ownership:

• Cars will pay £5.60 instead of £6.70;

• Small buses or vans will pay £11.20, down from £13.40;

• Lorries and coaches will pay £16.70 instead of £20.

The tolls will be abolished altogether by December 31 2018.

The Uk Government estimates that the reduction and eventual abolition of the tolls will strengthen economic links and prospects for the 'natural corridor' of south Wales and the south west of England, delivering a £100 million a year boost to the Welsh economy

Regular vehicle users of the crossings meanwhile, will enjoy considerable savings. Based on a monthly TAG - vehicle identification system - charge of £117.92 over 12 months, the annual saving will amount to more than £1,400.

Newport will host a cross-border business summit on Monday January 22, to discuss how economic links between south Wales and the south west of England can be strengthened ahead of the complete removal of the tolls.

“The major level of tolls on the Severn Crossings has represented a drag and barrier to Wales’ economic growth for over half a century," said Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns.

"In less than a year we will see the biggest economic stimulus for south Wales and the valleys for decades.

“The tolls’ removal will cement the ties between the economies and communities of south Wales and south west England, creating a growth corridor spanning from Cardiff, through Newport, to Bristol.