Although generally optimistic, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) remains cautious about the reduction, and eventual scrapping of tolls on both of the Severn crossings that link England and Wales.
As part of the process that will see the crossings revert to public ownership by the end of 2018, from Monday 8 January the VAT element of the current tolls will no longer apply. This will see the toll charges for HGVs reduce from £20 to £16.70.
The Government has pledged that both crossings will be toll-free by the end of the year, but what will the impact be on traffic management?
“Hauliers operate to very tight margins so any measures to reduce their costs is welcome,” said RHA chief executive Richard Burnett. “The eventual removal of tolls will be a tremendous boost to the local businesses and haulage firms who rely these major routes.
“However, the inevitable increase in traffic will put a big strain on the current infrastructure. Hauliers and businesses need strong reassurance that, as the deadline for the end of tolls approaches, the necessary steps needed to maintain smooth traffic flow are put in place as a matter of urgency.
“If the roads can’t cope then any potential savings will be in vain.”