The Welsh Government wants discussions with the UK Government on the future of the Severn Bridges when the current contract runs out in 2018. First Minister Carwyn Jones says it would be 'unacceptable' if income from tolls after that date went straight to the UK Department of Transport.
The move coincides with the publication of an independent report which claims the tolls cost the Welsh Econcomy £80m a year. Carwyn Jones said:
I want to work with the UK Government to achieve a situation where decisions about charging will be a matter for the Welsh Government.
It is too soon to say what the best solution would be if we gained control over the tolls. There are a number of options available and we would need careful consideration of how any revenue raised would be used. However, what is clear is that these decisions should be made in Wales.
Given the strategic significance of the Crossings to the UK, it is important to work closely with our counterparts in London. I will therefore be raising this matter with UK Ministers in the coming weeks.
FM: will look to take over running of the Severn bridges when contract comes to an end, with a view of possibly reducing tolls.