Will the closing of the Severn Bridge tolls affect local businesses and housing rates for the better or worse?
Commuters using the Severn Bridge, connecting England and Wales, will no longer be paying for tolls for the first time since it was opened in 1966.
On 17th December 2018, the bridge will stop charging tolls from motorists that as of now pay 5.60 pounds and big lorries and coaches that pay 16.70 pounds for the trip.
Dr. Sergey Popov, a lecturer in the Economics Department of Cardiff University, “It is not very economical, considering you have to pay 5 pounds and burn a lot of gas while waiting in line to pay the toll.”
He also added, “In the last 50 years the money generated by the toll did not go the government.”
Exactly 50 years ago, when the toll was started, the initial base price was 0.125 pounds. The tolls owners Severn River Crossing PLC were the ones maintaining both bridges and earned up to 10 million pounds a year.
The change won’t be sudden as temporary lanes will be installed on 14 December to see to a smooth transition. However, this historic change will have an impact on small businesses and housing rates in the surrounding areas of Severn Bridge.
According to Richard Krepner, Manager at Elstons Estage Agents in Chepstow, “The housing prices stated rising in the Chepstow area as soon as the government announced that the tolls are being scrapped.”
“More and more businesses will look to relocate their distribution centers and offices to the area as the rents on commercial space are lower than Bristol. It is good news for the South Wales economy” adds Mr. Krepner.
The Severn bridge toll has been in service since 1966 and has been an integral part of communication between England and Wales.
To see it being “scrapped” this year will have consequences on every front. Whether it is housing or economy, everyday lives of the people will be affected whether for the good or bad.
Coming to terms with the implications of this move will take a few more weeks but it is understandable that it will be huge, already the estimated amount to be saved by an average commuter who uses the bridge daily is up to 1,400 a year.