Nearly 2000 years of England-Wales tolls come to an end


Blackleaf
#1
From tomorrow, after nearly 2000 years, travellers crossing the UK's longest river between England and Wales no longer have to pay tolls...


Severn bridges: Final day of at least 800 years of tolls

By Peter Shuttleworth
BBC Wales News
16 December 2018


Maintenance of the two Severn bridges costs on average 6m a year


Sunday marks the final day of a centuries-old tax of paying to cross between south Wales and south-west England before the toll is removed.

Charges on both the M4 and M48 Severn bridges are being abolished - saving commuters as much as 1,400 a year.

People have had to pay to cross the Severn Estuary, with its treacherous tides, since Roman times, be it in a car, in a train or on a ferry.

The first written reference to the ferry is in a 12th Century document.

"Monday will be a very historic day," said historian Anne Rainsbury.

"It'll be the first time you can cross the Severn Estuary for free."

The charge for vehicles is being scrapped after the bridges returned to public ownership last year.

Car drivers had to pay two shillings and sixpence each way after the first Severn bridge was opened by the Queen in 1966.

Now the Severn toll has spiralled to 5.60 - but the charge is just one way, westbound heading into South Wales.

"It has been forever thus," added Ms Rainsbury, curator of Chepstow Museum on the Welsh side of the original bridge.

"You've always had to pay someone; a ferryman, a railway company or a bridge toll collector to cross the Severn Estuary - so Monday's removal of the tolls is a hugely significant moment, especially in Wales."

The first ferry crossing over the Severn Estuary - which has the second highest tidal range in the world - was between Aust and Beachley, essentially the path of the first bridge, on the narrowest width of the estuary.


The first recorded passenger ferry across the Severn Estuary is believed to be 1775

The first written reference to it is in a document from the 12th Century when the owner was the Lord of the Manor of Tidenham, part of the Chepstow Lordship.

But the first recorded ferry crossing was in 1775, when it cost a coach with six horses an eye-watering 16 shillings to board the boat on the mile-long route known as the old passage.

"It was a huge amount back then," said local historian Tim Ryan, who is trying to restore one of the old Severn ferries.


The Beachley-Aust ferry ran from 1931 until the original Severn bridge opened in 1966

"But if you could afford a coach and six horses, then you could afford the fee - and it would avoid a three-day, 55-mile trek around Gloucester to the nearest crossing of the river."

There was a rival and more direct crossing two miles downstream at the so-called new passage, thought to be in operation from 1630, between Pilning and Portskewett.

Both crossings - and a passenger ferry that ran directly between Chepstow and Bristol - were killed off when the Severn tunnel, then the world's longest under-sea rail tunnel, connecting London with south Wales opened in 1886.

The advent of the motor car revitalised the Aust-Beachley ferry and it started again in 1926 - running for 40 years and finishing the day before the first Severn bridge was opened.


A picture of Bob Dylan waiting for the Severn ferry was on the cover of the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese's documentary of Dylan

Famously Bob Dylan used a 1966 picture of himself as he waited for the Severn ferry on the cover of his album No Direction Home - the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese's documentary about the music icon.

The Queen opened the 8m first bridge in 1966 while the second bridge, built three miles downstream across the Severn Estuary, was financed by a private consortium set up in 1992.

The Second Severn Crossing - opened in 1996 and renamed the Prince of Wales Bridge in July this year - cost 332m to construct, but the eventual repayments including debt repayments, interest and tax totalled more than 1.3bn.

The removal of the Severn tolls is "history in the making", according to Anne Rainsbury, and will boost the Welsh economy by an estimated 100m.

The M4 Prince of Wales Bridge has been shut overnight as maintenance teams demolish the toll booths in readiness for toll-free free-flowing traffic.



The bridge between Monmouthshire and South Gloucestershire will be closed again at 19:00 on Sunday and reopen free-flowing and toll-free before Monday morning's rush hour - at a time yet to be confirmed - but with a 50mph speed restriction on temporary narrow lanes.

Motorists will be diverted around the original M48 Severn Bridge on Sunday night.

Shortly after the M4 bridge reopens on Monday, the M48 original Severn crossing will shut westbound until Wednesday for the tolls there to be dismantled.

Further work will be carried out in 2019 to return both routes to a three-lane motorway with the usual 70mph speed limit.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-46539168
Last edited by Blackleaf; Dec 16th, 2018 at 12:27 PM..
 
taxslave
+3
#2  Top Rated Post
Someone still has to pay. Only now people that will never use the bridge are forced to pay for its upkeep.
 
Blackleaf
#3
I'm sure the English especially will be happy that it's gone. For a number of years the toll has been on their side of the bridge, of course.
 
White_Unifier
#4
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf View Post

I'm sure the English especially will be happy that it's gone. For a number of years the toll has been on their side of the bridge, of course.

A one-way toll? How's that fair? I agree though that a toll would be preferable to make it user-pay.
 
petros
+1
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by White_Unifier View Post

A one-way toll? How's that fair? I agree though that a toll would be preferable to make it user-pay.

BC Ferries did it for years on the Horseshoe Bay to Gibson Landing Rt inc. Egmont to Saltery.
 
coldstream
+2
#6
That's a good thing. The more taxation is skewed towards progressive income taxes and away from user or poll taxes the fairer it is. Transportation produces a general benefit for all. Maybe they could replace the tolls on all bridges by imposing real progressive and non preferential taxation on capital gains. That would tax investment bankers who live on the avails of a productive industrial economy like parasites in proportion to the benefits they receive from the economy as a whole.
 
taxslave
+1
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by coldstream View Post

That's a good thing. The more taxation is skewed towards progressive income taxes and away from user or poll taxes the fairer it is. Transportation produces a general benefit for all. Maybe they could replace the tolls on all bridges by imposing real progressive and non preferential taxation on capital gains. That would tax investment bankers who live on the avails of a productive industrial economy like parasites in proportion to the benefits they receive from the economy as a whole.

Why should the citizens of Northern BC finance the traffic jams in Vancouver? Especially since most of them will never ride the expensive subways or make multiple passes every day on one of many Fraser River crossings.
 
White_Unifier
+1
#8
Quote: Originally Posted by coldstream View Post

That's a good thing. The more taxation is skewed towards progressive income taxes and away from user or poll taxes the fairer it is. Transportation produces a general benefit for all. Maybe they could replace the tolls on all bridges by imposing real progressive and non preferential taxation on capital gains. That would tax investment bankers who live on the avails of a productive industrial economy like parasites in proportion to the benefits they receive from the economy as a whole.

Let's take hydro as an example. The government increases a worker's taxes abut then subsidizes his electricity bill.If he's power-conscious while his neighbour likes to suck electricity to no end, then he's essentially subsidizing his neighbour's electricity bill. Now imagine that the government reduces his taxes and cuts subsidies to electricity. So his bill goes up, but since he's energy conscious anyway, he comes out on top. His neighbour meanwhile will start whining and complaining about how much electricity cots. Tough!

I see something similar with roads. Lower my overall taxes and increase the gas tax, and suddenly I have a disincentive to go on pleasure ides on my day off. As long as I'm cautious, I could come out on top in this. If I like riding around aimlessly all the time, it could hurt. But then again, roads cost money so why should I not pay my own way?

As for the poor, a simple solution is to increase their welfare payments and then let them decide how to spend that money rather than give them less and then subsidize what we think they should be buying.
 
Curious Cdn
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by White_Unifier View Post

A one-way toll? How's that fair? I agree though that a toll would be preferable to make it user-pay.

... but the Saxons still didn't get the message ...
 
coldstream
+1
#10
Quote: Originally Posted by taxslave View Post

Why should the citizens of Northern BC finance the traffic jams in Vancouver? Especially since most of them will never ride the expensive subways or make multiple passes every day on one of many Fraser River crossings.



Virtually everything those northerners consume.. food, clothing, fuel, building material.. is transported to them via those roads and bridges from the south. Why should southern BCers finance that. Why should the poor working people subsidize rich investment bankers who provide nothing of productive value to the country and claim a vastly disproportionate share of that product.
 
MHz
#11
Is the same fate awaiting 'the trolls' or are they a permanent feature??
 
Curious Cdn
#12
Quote: Originally Posted by MHz View Post

Is the same fate awaiting 'the trolls' or are they a permanent feature??

The ones under the bridges or the ones on here with bridges?
 
Blackleaf
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by White_Unifier View Post

A one-way toll? How's that fair? I agree though that a toll would be preferable to make it user-pay.

It isn't fair. Although the English haven't been treated fairly in this union of ours for a long time.
 
Curious Cdn
#14
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf View Post

It isn't fair. Although the English haven't been treated fairly in this union of ours for a long time.

Oh, poor you.

Why don't you let your Scottish, Welsh and Ulster vassal peoples free, then and release yourselves from your burden?
 
Blackleaf
#15
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

Oh, poor you.

Why don't you let your Scottish, Welsh and Ulster vassal peoples free, then and release yourselves from your burden?

Didn't the Scots have a referendum on the matter in 2014?
 
Danbones
#16
Their fortune tellers saw the brexit negotiation mess so they declined...
 
Curious Cdn
#17
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf View Post

Didn't the Scots have a referendum on the matter in 2014?

Expect another one, post Brexit. BTW, if they're such a burden on your union, why do you hang on to them?
 
Blackleaf
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

Expect another one, post Brexit. BTW, if they're such a burden on your union, why do you hang on to them?

Bring it on. Two thirds of Scottish trade is with the rest of the UK, so it's not the problem of the English, Welsh or Northern Irish if the Scots vote to Leave.
And if they vote to Leave and then rejoin the EU, they'd have to accept the disastrous euro currency, which is what most Scots wisely don't want. And they'd likely be a net contributor to the EU budget - and would be so without the huge, generous subsidies handed to them every year from the English taxpayer.

As for Wales, it's never been an independent state. England and Wales have always been joined.
 
Curious Cdn
#19
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf View Post

Bring it on. Two thirds of Scottish trade is with the rest of the UK, so it's not the problem of the English, Welsh or Northern Irish if the Scots vote to Leave.
And if they vote to Leave and then rejoin the EU, they'd have to accept the disastrous euro currency, which is what most Scots wisely don't want. And they'd likely be a net contributor to the EU budget - and would be so without the huge, generous subsidies handed to them every year from the English taxpayer.
As for Wales, it's never been an independent state. England and Wales have always been joined.

Maybe, they both have a better future trading with the Europeans than with a poor, depressed England, who will be suffering forever under punative tarrifs imposed on her as a warning to the EU members not to leave.
 
MHz
#20
Way to give up the secret, like, . . wow.
 
Blackleaf
#21
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

Maybe, they both have a better future trading with the Europeans than with a poor, depressed England, who will be suffering forever under punative tarrifs imposed on her as a warning to the EU members not to leave.

And there we have the classic contradiction all in one sentence.

On the one hand we get told that the UK will suffer because it's leaving the European Union, a union with which the UK does a lot of trade (43%, but falling, of UK trade), so the UK will suffer as a result, and yet on the other hand we get told that Scotland should leave the UK and that it would be better off outside it even though 63% of Scottish trade is with the UK.

As for saying that Scotland will have a better future as part of the EU than as part of the UK, I doubt you'd be saying that if Scotland left the UK, rejoined the EU as a new nation state, and has to accept the disastrous euro (which polls show most Scots don't want because it will be disastrous for the Scottish economy), Schengen, free movement of people and be a net contributor to the EU budget rather than - as it is now - a net receiver of subsidies from the UK Treasury. And Scotland in the EU still won't be an independent, sovereign state. Ir'd still be part of a political union but be run by Brussels rather than London. And as a small member state it'll have much less of a voice and much less influence in the EU as it does in the UK - it'd be dwarved and have less voting power than titans such as Sweden, Hungary, Belgium, Portugal and Austria.
 
Curious Cdn
#22
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf View Post

And there we have the classic contradiction all in one sentence.
On the one hand we get told that the UK will suffer because it's leaving the European Union, a union with which the UK does a lot of trade (43%, but falling, of UK trade), so the UK will suffer as a result, and yet on the other hand we get told that Scotland should leave the UK and that it would be better off outside it even though 63% of Scottish trade is with the UK.
As for saying that Scotland will have a better future as part of the EU than as part of the UK, I doubt you'd be saying that if Scotland left the UK, rejoined the EU as a new nation state, and has to accept the disastrous euro (which polls show most Scots don't want because it will be disastrous for the Scottish economy), Schengen, free movement of people and be a net contributor to the EU budget rather than - as it is now - a net receiver of subsidies from the UK Treasury. And Scotland in the EU still won't be an independent, sovereign state. Ir'd still be part of a political union but be run by Brussels rather than London. And as a small member state it'll have much less of a voice and much less influence in the EU as it does in the UK - it'd be dwarved and have less voting power than titans such as Sweden, Hungary, Belgium, Portugal and Austria.

Trade with England might get worth didly-squat in the future. The Scots will want to be paid in a harder currency than the Peso Sterling.
 
Blackleaf
#23
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

Trade with England might get worth didly-squat in the future. The Scots will want to be paid in a harder currency than the Peso Sterling.


It's great news for the economy that the pound is falling. It's been too high for several years. British trade and productivity will expand.


Much rather the pound than the euro. The British were, despite the warnings from the EUphiles, right to keep out of the euro, just as we'll be proven right to leave the EU, when Britain booms and becomes more democratic and the EU and its member states sink into oblivion, with Britain once again becoming Europe's greatest economic and military power.
 
Curious Cdn
#24
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf View Post

It's great news for the economy that the pound is falling. It's been too high for several years. British trade and productivity will expand.
Much rather the pound than the euro. The British were, despite the warnings from the EUphiles, right to keep out of the euro, just as we'll be proven right to leave the EU, when Britain booms and becomes more democratic and the EU and its member states sink into oblivion, with Britain once again becoming Europe's greatest economic and military power.

Our relatively low dollar helps us but that is because we are a net trading nation that sells much more than we buy (most if the time). England hadn't been one of those since Victorian tines and you need a stronger currency to purchase all if the goods, food, etc. that you don't produce yourselves. Your ability to do that is becoming diminished.
 
MHz
#25
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf View Post

It's great news for the economy that the pound is falling. It's been too high for several years. British trade and productivity will expand.

Considering the backbone of NATO is a thriving arms industry the opportunity for sales has increased with the US leaving or is the place, full. Does the training that ISIS get now more in line with messing the place up from the inside using sabotage tactics rather than bombs? (like all that training in Ireland supplied you with so it could be done right under 6the noses of the victims)

I assume the EU NATO members that are not sending arms to the KSA have already filled all the current contracts and nothing new was in the works anyway. If the KSA buys arms for Lebanon they that is fine and legal, you know the place where the leader can't for a Government but he knows how to get to the KSA and France for all sorts 'of things'.
 
Blackleaf
#26
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

Our relatively low dollar helps us but that is because we are a net trading nation that sells much more than we buy (most if the time). England hadn't been one of those since Victorian tines and you need a stronger currency to purchase all if the goods, food, etc. that you don't produce yourselves. Your ability to do that is becoming diminished.

Actually, the UK has a trade surplus with the whole of the world except for one part of it - the EU. And most of the UK's trade is with the world outside the EU. UK trade with the EU is rapidly diminishing.
 
MHz
#27
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

Our relatively low dollar helps us but that is because we are a net trading nation that sells much more than we buy (most if the time). England hadn't been one of those since Victorian tines and you need a stronger currency to purchase all if the goods, food, etc. that you don't produce yourselves. Your ability to do that is becoming diminished.

For somebody with lots of oil and extra food we are living in poverty so it is being given away and they are the ones reaping the rewards so now you know the rest of the story of why a rich country has a dollar that is as low as it can go.
 
Blackleaf
#28
Britain is the ninth-biggest exporting country in the world, ahead of Canada and a bigger exporter per capita than the USA.
 
Curious Cdn
#29
Quote: Originally Posted by Blackleaf View Post

Actually, the UK has a trade surplus with the whole of the world except for one part of it - the EU. And most of the UK's trade is with the world outside the EU. UK trade with the EU is rapidly diminishing.

No, you have a net trade deficit.

The widening of the trade in goods deficit was due to increases in imports and decreases in exports, from and to non-EU countries, in the three months to January 2018

This is from your own trade office.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/natio...de/january2018
 
Blackleaf
#30
Quote: Originally Posted by Curious Cdn View Post

No, you have a net trade deficit.
The widening of the trade in goods deficit was due to increases in imports and decreases in exports, from and to non-EU countries, in the three months to January 2018
This is from your own trade office.
https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/natio...de/january2018

I think you'll find Britain has a trade surplus with the whole world - except with the EU.

In fact, the trade surplus that Britain has with the non-EU world has grown fivefold since 2012 from 8bn to 39bn.