The FTA has welcomed the government's decision to slash the cost of using the Severn Bridges but said it should have gone further.

The DfT has revealed a plan to slash the Severn Bridge toll by 50% for HGVs when the bridge enters public ownership next year.

Trucks will pay £10 to cross, rather than the current fee of £20, when the bridge changes ownership. Vans, which currently pay £13.50 to cross the bridge, will pay £3 along with small buses and cars.

The news was announced by transport secretary Chris Grayling during a visit to Wales with Welsh secretary Alun Cairns last week.

Grayling said: “The government is determined to make the right decisions for Britain’s future and reducing the tolls on the Severn Crossings will cut costs for businesses helping boost jobs and trade in Wales and across the south-west.

Cairns described the news as “excellent for people living and working in Wales”.

Grayling also said the government is considering removing the toll barriers and introducing a free-flow traffic system.

However, Ian Gallagher, head of policy for the South West and Wales at the FTA, said:  “While the reductions are welcome, the government had a real opportunity to provide a boost to the Welsh economy by scrapping the £63m debt and introducing lower charges.

"Realistically, the FTA is keen to see out of hours travel permitted free of charge, as well as incentivisation for the take up of the TAG system.”

The lowered fees will be applicable to drivers paying by cash or by the electronic TAG system, who are the most regular users of the crossing.

However, benefits for fleet operators using the TAG currently only apply after 20 crossings as a monthly pass costs £396. Gallagher told that while there was a time saving having a TAG on board, it represented an upfront cost for operators and could be re

“Making 20 crossings or more is a significant monetary commitment for fleet operators,” said Gallagher, “and one which the association will continue to lobby government on, to ensure the threshold is revisited at the earliest possible opportunity.”