'It's like a pay rise' - commuters celebrate end of Severn bridges tolls

  • Video report by ITV News correspondent Rachel Younger

Commuters celebrating the abolition of tolls across the Severn bridges are treating the scoop like a "really good pay rise".

Many drivers dependent on the bridges to cross between England and Wales can now save upward of £1,000 on fees annually.

Charges for crossing the bridges were scrapped on Monday, 52 years after they were built.

Teacher Seb Leer is one of those who can live a little more comfortably now the changes have come into effect.

Mr Leer travels between Bristol and Chepstow every day and believes the extra money in his pocket will in effect give him the biggest pay rise he has seen.

Seb Leer has spent more than £2,000 using the bridges.

Mr Leer, who has made the journey for more than two and a half years, works at The Dell Primary School.

He told ITV News: "I've always said it's a small price to pay working at a school like this, but it does take its toll - something like £122 a month.

"Over a year, as a teacher, that's cost me over a grand.

"I've worked here for two and a bit years, so two grand I've spent just crossing a bridge."

  • Queen and Duke of Edinburgh open Severn bridges in 1966

Mr Leer continued: "That's going to make a huge difference to just living comfortably in the future.

"I'm just going to be able to enjoy myself a little bit more, relax and not be worried about bills going out at the end of the month and being skint."

He added: "It's always very tight, so an extra £112 is going to be like a really good pay rise that I'm going to enjoy."

Mr Leer commutes from Bristol to Chepstow five days a week.

Charges on the original Severn Crossing have been in place since 1966, when the fee stood at two shillings and sixpence - the equivalent of 12.5p in decimal currency today.

They were then introduced on the second crossing - renamed the Prince of Wales Bridge in April this year - when it opened 30 years later in 1996.

The UK Government said scrapping the tolls will provide an immediate benefit of over £100 million per year for Wales.