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Transport Secretary announces plans to cut Severn crossing tolls

Photocall at the A48 Severn Bridge as Chris Grayling and Alun Cairns announce proposals to cut toll prices Credit: ITV News

Transport Secretary Christopher Grayling has officially announced plans to slash Severn crossing tolls by up to 75%.

Drivers and businesses will benefit from proposed cuts to the tolls following the return to public ownership, Mr Grayling has said.

He was joined by Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns and Monmouth MP David Davies for the announcement.

Under the proposals:

  • Cars will pay £3.00 instead of £6.70.
  • Small buses or vans will pay £3.00, down from £13.40
  • Lorries and coaches will pay £10 instead of £20
  • Blue Badge holders and motorcycles will continue to be exempt from the tolls.

The Welsh Affairs Committee has been a longstanding champion of a reduction in fairs for the Severn Bridge.

This is a measure that benefits the people and economy of South Wales.

I am especially pleased that the Government has committed to reviewing the tolls in the future and we can now hopefully look forward to a time when the M48 is free to use.

– David Davies MP, Chair of the Welsh Affairs Committee

It seems unfair that all tolls have been scrapped in Scotland and yet we will still have a toll to enter Wales.

Half of drivers say they will plan their journeys to avoid paying tolls, but for drivers from the South of England the Severn Crossing is simplest way to enter Wales. Otherwise it's a lengthy detour.

If the toll is not scrapped we hope that lessons on free-flow, which is in place at the Dartford Crossing, are learnt when they are introduced on the Severn Crossing.

Drivers will want to see plenty of signage and information which makes it clear how and where to pay the toll.

– Edmund King, AA President

Tolls cut doesn't go far enough say Lib Dems

Credit: Daniel Leal-Olivas

Liberal Democrat Transport spokesperson, Jenny Randerson, has added her voice to calls for Severn tolls to be axed altogether.

We welcome that this starts to address a major impediment to the development of the Welsh economy, and indeed that of SW England, and the Bristol area.

However, this does not go far enough. Lib Dems have campaigned for decades for total removal of tolls. Why should people using this bridge pay for its upkeep when they already pay for road repairs through the tax system, just as users of other motorways do?

– Baroness Jenny Randerson

Toll cut 'long overdue' says Shadow Welsh Secretary

Credit: PA, Kirsty O'Connor

Shadow Welsh Secretary Jo Stevens has welcomed the UK Government's announcement that it will reduce tolls on the Severn Bridges, but has urged ministers to consider dropping the charges altogether.

After tireless campaigning from local Labour MPs and many commuters, this long overdue announcement that the government will finally be lowering the toll is good news for businesses and commuters in South Wales.

However, with little concrete information about how the free flow system will work in practice, the devil will be in the detail and I will be pushing Ministers to ensure any changes leave people better off.

I’ll look at the consultation carefully, I encourage as many people and businesses as possible to respond to the consultation and I hope the government will consider seriously the views of those who think the charges need to be dropped entirely.

– Jo Stevens MP, Shadow Welsh Secretary


Rail fare hike criticised by public transport campaigners

Train fares will rise by an average of 2.3% today. Credit: PA

The yearly rise in train fares has been described by public transport campaigners as "another kick in the teeth" for rail passengers.

The average increase of 2.3% across Britain came into force on Monday morning, although figures vary between operators.

The overall rise is the highest since January 2014, when fares increased by 2.8%.

Read more on this story on ITV News's national site.

300 more jobs over the next 3 years at Bluestone

Bluestone will create an additional 300 jobs by 2020.

A multimillion pound loan means the national park resort can also invest in new all-weather facilities.

Credit: Bluestone National Park Resort

Designs are currently being drawn up for a £7.5million Eden Project-style Sky Dome at the resort.

That's expected to open in 2018.

Bluestone also hopes to transform a disused 19th century Black Pool Mill into a Victorian-themed attraction.

Over the next three years, the number of year-round jobs will increase by 300 to more than 1000.

Our original vision for Bluestone, which began some two decades ago, has been realised over the past three years.

This culminated earlier this year in the completion of our third phase which took the number of 5* lodges, cottages and studio apartments to more than 300.

Staff are the heart of the customer experience at Bluestone and therefore our success as a business overall.

– Bluestone Chief Executive, William McNamara

Over the past three years Bluestone has made great progress, investing in additional accommodation in the Park and demonstrating a strong track record of cash generation and profitability.

– Jason Llewellyn, Barclays Corporate Banking Director
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