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Business leaders urge future owners of M6 toll to use the road to ease £2.2b delays

Vehicles approach Britain's first motorway toll on the M6 in Staffordshire in 2003 Photo: Rui Vieira / PA Archive/Press Association Images

Business leaders in Greater Birmingham have urged the future owners of the M6 toll to ensure that it becomes an integral part of the UK’s motorway network, in order to help ease congestion, believed to be costing West Midlands firms more than £2.2 billion a year.

The controversial road, condemned for low traffic levels and failure to ease the burden on the M6, has been put up for sale with a price tag of nearly £2 billion.

Operated by Midland Expressway, the 27-mile route between Cannock and Coleshill opened in 2003 but has run up a total debt of around £1.9 billion and is now being sold by the group of banks who own it.

General view of Great Wyrley Toll Station on M6 Toll, Staffordshire Credit: Rui Vieira / PA Archive/Press Association Images

With the prospect of putting the toll road into state ownership unrealistic, we call on any new owners and the regulators to ensure it is properly integrated into the motorway network in order to do the job it was intended for - relieving pressure on the M6.

There should also be provision for the toll road to be opened up in times of gridlock, like the occasion last week when the M6 was closed for 24 hours because of a fatal crash at Spaghetti Junction.

Surveys conducted by the Chamber have indicated that businesses are suffering unacceptable delays and rising costs caused by congestion.

What is clear is that doing nothing to make full use of the toll is simply not an option. Road congestion currently costs businesses in the West Midlands over £2.2 billion per year in lost time, additional fuel costs and general stress.

– Chris Plant, Director at the Chambers of Commerce