1. ITV Report

Tolls on the Severn Bridges have been cut

Credit: PA

Tolls on the Severn Bridges have been cut.

Car drivers will save an extra £1.10 as the charge for individual crossings reduces from £6.70 to £5.60.

No VAT will be charged as the Severn Crossings have returned to public ownership and are now the responsibility of the Department for Transport agency Highways England.

But the tolls won't be scrapped until the end of the year.

is the amount motorists are set to save per year based on a monthly tag charge of £117.92 over.

The abolition is set to benefit the Welsh economy by around £100m a year, according to Welsh Government: The Impact of the Severn Tolls on the Welsh Economy, 30 May 2012.

Severn Bridges (M4 and M48) monthly charges after January 8 2018:

  • Category 1: £5.60, with the Season/Shared TAG at £98.56 (20% discount based on 22 trips per month).
  • Category: 2 £11.20, with the Season/Shared TAG at £197.12 (20% discount based on 22 trips per month).
  • Category 3: £16.70, with the Season/Shared TAG at £330.66 (10% discount based on 22 trips per month).

Newport West MP Paul Flynn, who says the tolls should never have been imposed in the first place, says the new charges should be known as the "Alun Cairns tax" after the Secretary of State for Wales. He added that ministers have behaved "like snake oil salesmen".

The Tories announced they were going to reduce the tolls and we all said 'no, it should be nothing'. There was an Act of Parliament that said once the Severn Bridges company had made its money, the bridges would be like any other part of the motorway and the tolls should be nothing. The Tories said 'no, they're going to be £3.00'. And then in the middle of the election campaign, surprise, surprise, they said they're going to be nothing. Now we're in a position where they are going to be £5.60 and I believe that money for the next year is wholly unjustified. That's a Cairns tax, an Alun Cairns tax.

– Paul Flynn MP

The UK Government says that the new tolls are needed for a year to cover its costs, including some of the expense of ending the tolls, such as making the collection staff redundant.

My decision to abolish the tolls with the support of my UK Government cabinet colleagues is a boost to commuters, tourists and business owners alike who will be see extra money in their pockets as they make their way to and from Wales. 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.

– Alun Cairns, Secretary of State for Wales

It's taken nearly 22 years for the tolls to repay the construction costs -and profits- of the company that built the Second Severn Crossing. Tolls have been in place since the first motorway bridge opened in 1966, when motorists were charged half a crown each way for a car (2s 6d or 12.5p)