A new campaign by local MP Steve Webb and the local Liberal Democrats to scrap the tolls on the two Severn Bridges has got off to a strong start. The ‘no more tolls’ campaign is calling for the toll to be scrapped on the two bridges once the construction costs of the bridges have been paid off in a couple of years’ time.
At that point the bridges will return into public ownership and Steve Webb is arguing for remaining maintenance costs to be transferred to the Highways Agency budget so that the tolls can be completely scrapped. An online petition calling for the tolls to be scrapped attracted over 1,000 signatures within a week, with support coming from both sides of the bridge. On Saturday (8thNovember) campaigners gathered in the pouring rain at Aust services to highlight their protest. Speaking at the protest, Steve Webb said:
“We have always known that the tolls would be needed to pay for the construction of the two bridges. But once the bills are paid, there is no longer any need for a separate maintenance charge for the bridges. We already pay through our taxes for the maintenance of the rest of the highway network, including local motorways, and there is no reason for local people to go on paying for routine maintenance for the bridges.
“We have had a huge positive response to this campaign with people keen to see the tolls scrapped to make it easier for people who live and work on different sides of the bridge, or for those who have family and friends on each side of the Severn. Scrapping the tolls would be good for local businesses and the local economy and we will be stepping up our campaign in the coming months to get the tolls ended”.
The campaign website can be found at www.stevewebb.org.uk/nomoretolls