Will businesses benefit from a free Severn Bridge crossing?

Second Severn crossing

Second Severn crossing

Drivers will see an end to tolls on the Severn Crossings in 2018, Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns announced today.

The Severn Crossings are iconic landmarks which have served commuters, businesses and local communities in Wales and England for over 50 years.

The bridges are used by more than 25 million vehicles each year, saving significant travel time and distance for commuters and drivers using the M4 motorway.

However, the tolls on both Severn Crossings have been seen as an economic and symbolic barrier to Wales’ and the South West’s future prosperity.

It is estimated that this announcement would boost the economy of the South West and South Wales by around £100 million a year and the average motorist could save over £1,400 per year.

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “By ending tolls for the 25 million annual journeys between two nations we will strengthen the links between communities and help to transform the joint economic prospects of South Wales and the South West of England.

“I want to ensure that visitors and investors know what Wales has to offer socially, culturally and economically. Most importantly, I want the world to know how accessible we are to business.”

When the bridges come under public ownership, they will be run by Highways England. Previously it has been run by Severn River Crossing plc.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “Tens of millions of motorists a year will benefit from the end of tolls on the Severn bridges, saving them money and cutting journey times. People who use the crossing every day will save a minimum of £115 a month.

“Abolishing the crossing fee will also drive economic growth for businesses in Wales and the South West and further strengthen the bond between our two great countries.”