Severn Bridge toll prices could be £10 in years to come, claims Neath councillor
THE rise in Severn Bridge tolls will add to motorists' worries, a Neath councillor has claimed.
The cost of crossing the river rose from £6 to £6.20 for cars on New Year's Day.
Consecutive rises have sparked criticism from politicians who have called for both the Welsh and UK governments to take action.
John Warman, who represents the Cimla ward on Neath Port Talbot Council, is also a organiser for the Campaign Against Severn Bridge Tolls (Cast).
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He claimed: "All road users will face a bleak new year with rising costs and the Severn Bridge tolls rising to an inflation-busting £6.20 for a car and higher charges for lorries and buses.
"Unless urgent action is taken by the UK Government to return the Severn Bridges back to the taxpayer from the private company which holds the concession operating the tolls, the reality will be in a few years motorists will be paying £10 to cross the Severn Bridges."
The second Severn Bridge will come into public ownership in 2017.
Mr Warman said Cast would step up its campaign in 2013 to "fight against this unfair tax on entering Wales, which is causing a huge burden on economy of Wales".
He is not the only one who has called for a toll decrease. Swansea West MP Geraint Davies wants to see the price brought down to £1 when the bridge returns to public ownership.
Mr Davies said it was important for the Welsh economy for the toll to be reduced.
Car drivers are not the only ones being hit with the price hike. All categories of vehicle will see a rise. Small goods vehicles and buses with between nine and 17 passengers will now pay £12.40 and 18-seaters and heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) will be charged £18.60.
Yesterday Plaid Cymru called for the Welsh Government to step in to curb the rising cost.
Carmarthen East and Dinefwr MP Jonathan Edwards, the party's transport spokesman, said: "The lack of complaints over the continued rise of the Severn Bridges tolls once again shows that the Welsh Government are crying crocodile tears when they complain about motorists' rising costs.
"Other companies and investments have been forced to take the economic situation into account in recent years and many will tell you about the problems that the tolls cause them. But for South Wales motorists the tolls keep rising."
The Welsh Government said the approval of the toll prices was the responsibility of the UK Government. A spokesman said the Welsh Government had called on Westminster to enter into discussions with ministers when the bridge transferred to public ownership. He added that the First Minister had already indicated that he would like to see the tolls reduced.