Severn tolls have been psychological and fiscal barrier

13 February 2018

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The two Severn crossings passed into public ownership on Monday 9th January 2018 and the tolls have been reduced by removing VAT. The Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, also confirmed that the tolls will be scrapped altogether by the end 2018. Highways England has now taken over responsibility for both bridges on the M4 and M48 from Severn River Crossing Plc, and will use the reduced tolls to cover maintenance costs. Private cars now pay £5.60 instead of £6.70 while vans pay £11.20 instead of £13.40 and HGVs £16.70 instead of £20, until the fees are scrapped.

Michael Lawley, Chairman of Cooke & Arkwright examines what impact the current reduction and forthcoming abolition of the tolls might have on the commercial and residential sectors:

“We welcome the reduction and eventual removal of the tolls, the positive impact of which is likely to grow steadily over a long period. The existence of the tolls has been a psychological and fiscal barrier across the Severn Estuary and their removal will allow the regional economies in the South-West and South Wales to trade more effectively. People and businesses will be free to locate where they wish rather than being influenced by the financial burden of entering Wales. This particularly affected distribution and logistics companies and commuters.  The lifting of the toll burden combined with marginally lower industrial values should greatly improve the ability of distribution-based companies to move to South Wales. 

“In residential terms, Monmouthshire and Newport are also likely to experience increased demand from people seeking more affordable housing than that which prevails in the Bristol area. Overall, the reduction of tolls should prove beneficial in many ways to the South Wales economy.”

The disposal of 120,000 square feet on the Heads of the Valleys Industrial Estate was a particularly satisfying task. The building had been rebuilt following fire damage, and Jeremy Symons and his team were successful in identifying a nearby purchaser looking to expand. The sale price, at £4,000,000, represented a record sale price for a property of this nature in the area, and with great tenacity and endeavour was completed in a timely fashion. An excellent result.

Richard Hayward, Richard Hayward Properties