Gary Phillips, Commercial Manager of Cardiff-based transport company Rhys Davies Freight Logistics, has reacted angrily to the announcement by Wales’ First Minister Carwyn Jones that tolls would be retained on the Severn Bridges if the Welsh government takes control of them in 2018. The Minister also suggested that the revenue could be used to improve the M4 motorway in South Wales.
"With nearly 200 large goods vehicles operating throughout the UK we have little option but to use the crossings and make over 20 crossings every day across the Severn bridge alone. Retaining expensive tolls long after the bridges have been paid for amounts to an unfair tax on businesses in South Wales and on transport companies in particular, not to mention the detrimental effect on investment in other Welsh businesses" said Gary.
Ian Gallagher, Freight Transport Association Policy Manager for Wales has similar views, "Our members and commuters who have no realistic choice but to use the bridge will not be happy that they will be paying a charge on a piece of infrastructure which has already been paid for, and even if money is hypothecated for improvements around Newport, it would be unfair that users should be expected to pick up the bill. Governments in Cardiff and Westminster should take note of the recent report published by Arup into the impact of the tolls on the Welsh economy which clearly showed that reducing the tolls could indirectly benefit the economy in South Wales to the tune of £107 million."
Rhys Davies Freight Logistics recently celebrated 60 years in the transport industry and operates 190 vehicles from nine depots strategically located across the UK.