The axing of the tolls at the Severn crossings this morning (17 December 2018) marks a historic moment for Anglo-Welsh logistics, according to The Freight Transport Association (FTA), as it joins its members in celebrating this festive gift to the logistics industry after years of campaigning. This morning, FTA member Owens Group, a leading transport and warehousing company, was given the honour of becoming the first vehicle to cross the bridge toll-free.
The toll removal is expected to deliver £1bn of economic benefit over the next decade, according to the Welsh secretary Alun Cairns , . This has been a long-term policy position for FTA, the only group representing all of logistics, as Sally Gilson , FTA’s Head of Policy for Wales, explains:
“After so many years of campaigning to abolish the Severn Bridge tolls, FTA’s members thought this day would never come. The Severn bridge tolls have served as a consistent barrier to economic growth and an unfair burden to both employers and employees alike as they cross between England and Wales. Our members spend millions of pounds each year on the tolls, money that can now be reinvested to help grow business, develop skills and the purchasing of greener fleets.
“This has been such an important issue for FTA and its members. FTA and its members have been working with local MPs to raise the profile of this cause for many years and we are pleased that the Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns made this a priority.”
FTA member Owens Group were the first vehicle to cross the bridge for free, Ian Jarman, Manager of the Owens Group, commented: “We have been campaigning with the FTA for many years to remove the tolls – they have always been a barrier to trade in Wales and South West of England. As a company, we intend to invest the savings into greener technologies.”
Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.