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BRIDGE TOLLS TO RISE AGAIN.

Byline: TYLER MEARS Reporter tyler.mears@walesonline.co.uk

TOLL prices for the Severn Bridge are set to rise again in the New Year, going up by 10p for cars and small goods vehicles.

The new prices, which will apply to all vehicles crossing the Severn Bridge and Second Severn Crossing, will be introduced from January 1, 2016.

The toll for cars and motor caravans will rise from PS6.50 to PS6.60, small goods vehicles and small buses will rise from PS13.10 to PS13.20, and heavy goods vehicles and buses will rise by 20p from PS19.60 to PS19.80.

Since 1992, the price for cars and motor caravans to cross the bridge has more than doubled from PS2.80.

The toll for small goods vehicles and small buses has also risen by PS7.60, from PS5.60 in 1992 to PS13.20 in 2016.

By 2016, the toll for heavy goods vehicles and buses will have risen from PS8.40 in 1992 to PS19.80.

The new toll levels are confirmed each year by a Parliamentary Order made in December which authorises Severn River Crossing Plc (SRC) to adjust tolls to the revised levels.

A spokesman for SRC said: "SRC amends the tolls at the start of each year in strict compliance with the Severn Bridges Act 1992.

"The Act sets down the precise method and base prices for setting toll levels and the adjustment to next year's tolls, like this year, is in accordance with RPI."

The rise in toll levels have left some commuters, who use the bridge frequently, feeling angry.

Kris Saunders, a programme manager for TVS education, uses the bridge every day and thinks the tolls are a further financial burden for small businesses.

Kris, 30, from the Rhondda, said: "To be honest I think it's a disgrace how much the toll prices have risen over the years. How are people who use the bridge daily expected to be able to pay this price every day along with other travelling costs such as petrol? I think it's a further financial burden for many people and small businesses."

In July a petition was created, calling on the Prime Minister to scrap the toll. The online petition was started by Chepstow-based Steven Holloway and was signed by more than 6,000 people.

A statement on the petition's website read: "The Severn Crossings are a lifeline for some so they can get to work in Bristol and surrounding areas. Fuel costs are bad enough without the added worry of bridge tolls."

The rise in toll prices comes in the face of figures obtained by Monmouth Tory MP David Davies, which show that maintaining the two Severn bridges is far less than the tolls imposed on them.

Mr Davies said slashing toll prices to just PS1 would cover the cost of running and maintaining the bridges when they return to public ownership in two-and-a-half years' time. The figures show SRC collected a net revenue of PS91.4m in 2014, of which PS13.16m was operational expenditure including maintenance. PS17m was paid in VAT.

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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Dec 27, 2015
Words:517
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