‘End all toll charges’

CALLS for all road crossings to be made toll free  including the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Tamar Bridge be- tween Devon and Cornwall intensified yesterday.

They came in the wake of the Government announcement on Friday that fees for the Severn crossings are to be axed.

AA president Edmund King said: ‘At last the “tax on Wales” is being abolished,’ and called on ministers to go further and scrap all tolls on public bridges.

RAC roads policy spokesman Nicholas Lyes said: ‘Where viable and where there are real, tangible economic benefits for doing so, we would encourage the Government to look at reducing or abolishing other crossing tolls across the country to help motorists who are feeling the squeeze of rising costs presently.’

But Plymouth MP Luke Pollard sounded a cautionary note on Twitter: ‘Scrapping Tamar Bridge tolls could only happen if Govt takes 100% of bridge upkeep costs. Worth investigating but only with that condition.’

Mr Powell has already asked the Govern- ment to consider extending the M5 from Exeter to the Tamar Bridge.

Tolls on the Severn crossings linking England with Wales are to be abolished for all vehicles at the end of 2018.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns said the move would boost the economy of South Wales by around £100 million a year and could save regular users of the bridges by car as much as £1,400 a year.

The toll has been in place since the first Severn Bridge was opened in 1966, when the charge stood at two shillings and sixpence  the equivalent of 12.5p in decimal currency.

Charges are now levied only on west bound traffic  leading some to describe them as a ‘tax on entering Wales’  and stand at £6.70 for cars, £13.40 for large vans and minibuses and £20 for buses and lorries.