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UK Government'could recoup Severn Bridge costs until 2027'.

THE UK Government has up to another nine years to recoup its costs on the Severn Bridge crossings after they return to public ownership, according to information obtained by Plaid Cymru.

The revelation came the day before tolls went up on the Severn Bridge with car drivers paying an extra 10p taking the toll to PS6.50, while heavy goods vehicle and bus drivers will have to pay PS19.60, up 40p. There are also rises for small goods vehicles and small buses.

Plaid Cymru's Westminster Transport spokesman Jonathan Edwards said: "While the crossings are likely to revert to public ownership by 2018, the UK Government will still have the right to recoup its costs.

"This right lasts until 2027. Under current tolls it would take one to two years for the Government to recoup its costs but at the moment it is deliberately keeping its intentions hidden. The Government needs to come clean on its plans after 2018 and whether it intends to keep charging up to 2027 and beyond."

The MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr said: "A Plaid Cymru Government would reduce the tolls to around PS2 under today's prices to cover maintenance, staff costs and contingencies.

"Eliminating the tolls altogether would be kept under review and would depend on costs."

In response to a request by Plaid submitted under the Freedom of Information Act, the UK Highways Agency, said: "Government has the right to recoup its own costs from the construction, maintenance and management of the bridge until 2027.

"This would be for costs that fall outside of the scope of the current concession, for example costs incurred for cable corrosion work. Based on a continuation of current arrangements it is expected to take one to two years to recover this money.

"However, the exact nature of that regime has yet to be determined."

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 31, 2014
Words:308
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