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First Minister rules out scrapping Severn Bridge tolls

The First Minister has dashed hopes that the tolls for the Severn Crossings might be scrapped, even after the construction costs are paid off in around five years time.

Carwyn Jones argues that if his government takes over the crossings, the toll money could be used to pay for other improvements on the M4 across South Wales - an idea already suggested by the Chancellor George Osborne.

But with tolls set to increase by up to 3.3% from January, many motorists may be far from happy.

Our reporter Rob Osborne has been speaking to some of them.

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1992 archive: Welsh Office minister makes case for tolls

From the ITV Wales/HTV archive: Welsh Office Minister Sir Wyn Roberts MP defends the toll settlement in 1992.

He said that the arrangements were needed to make the Second Severn Crossing viable.

"The Government has done all the thinking that needs to be done" he said.

"Obviously, everyone objects to paying anything. Those who are objecting to paying are really objecting to the Second Severn Crossing"

Severn Bridge tolls to rise by up to 3.3% in January 2013

Severn River Crossing Plc has confirmed the level at which tolls will raise for the Severn Bridge and Second Severn Crossing

The price rises, which happen annually after an agreement set out by the Severn Bridges Act 1992, come into effect on January 1st 2013.

  • Cars and motor caravans £6.20 (20p increase)
  • Small goods vehicles and small buses £12.40 (30p increase)
  • Heavy goods vehicles and buses £18.60 (50p increase)

First Minister on the Severn Bridge tolls

In an exclusive interview for 'Sharp End', the First Minister talks about his plans for the Severn Bridge tolls once control is handed over in 2017/2018.

He says it would be wrong for the UK Transport Department to take over the bridges and the toll income.

But the Welsh Government, he adds, would not get rid of the tolls or cut them to a level where they would just pay for maintaining the bridges.

"The important point is of course that still leaves scope for having that extra money which we could spend on the M4 in Wales" he says.

You can see more of that interview tonight at 10.35pm on ITV1 Wales.

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