The inflation-busting increases being foisted on heavy goods vehicle (HGV) operators who use the M6 toll road is bad for business, other motorists and the environment, says the Freight Transport Association (FTA). Despite a pronounced drop in traffic volume along the chronically under-used toll road, Midland Expressway increased the toll price for HGVs by 6.4 per cent – almost double the rate of inflation.
The leading trade body fears that even more lorries will avoid the £700m+ bypass, adding to congestion on the already over-burdened M6, a strategic gateway for commercial goods vehicle deliveries.
Stephen Kelly, FTA’s Head of Policy for the Midlands, said:
"Extra toll costs are the last thing the commercial vehicle sector needs, but by effectively closing the gate to this vital corridor for so many hauliers we are in danger of not realising the economic and environmental benefits that this road was built for in the first place.
"It is, frankly, hard to swallow the argument that this extra revenue will be ploughed into major improvements – what is the point of investing in a road which nobody can afford to use?"
The cost of congestion is two-fold: needless emissions being expelled from idling traffic damages the environment while this wasted fuel burns a sizeable hole in the pockets of commercial vehicle operators, a problem brought into even sharper focus by the runaway cost of diesel.
"Even before the latest hike, those comparatively few HGV drivers who did opt for the quicker and less congested M6 toll road did so as a last minute distress purchase based purely on how bad they thought the alternative journey would be. This is far from perfect for those companies that need to plan delivery routes efficiently and the businesses that depend on a reliable supply chain will also suffer."