The bridges connecting Wales and south-west England will finally be free to use.

The government has announced that it will abolish the tolls on the M48 Severn Bridge and M4 Prince of Wales Bridge in December.

The bridges, which connect Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire, currently charge £5.60 for cars with up to nine seats on westbound journeys (from England to Wales).

Costly roads take their toll on motorists

Eastbound journeys are already free on both bridges.

Together, the two crossings form the key arterial routes between south-west England and south Wales.

On Monday, December 17, the tolls will be abolished.

The move follows the decision in January to reduce the tolls to their current levels.

According to the government, the move will save “regular motorists” more than £1,000 a year, as well as boosting the Welsh economy by around £100 million a year. 

The government also says removing tolls will help consumers and businesses in the run-up to Christmas.

Cars crossing the Severn Bridge at sunset

All tolls will be removed, including the current £11.20 toll for double-cab pick-up trucks, small buses with up to 17 seats and goods vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes. The £16.70 charge for HGVs and buses with 18 seats or more will also be scrapped.

Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling said: “Removing the tolls from the Severn bridges will help transform the economy in South Wales and the South West, putting over £1,000 a year back in the pockets of hard-working families.

“Abolishing these tolls will also cut costs for businesses on both sides of the river, giving them a huge boost to help create new opportunities and new potential for growth.”

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: "It has long been my ambition to see the tolls abolished, doing away with a barrier that has hindered Wales’ economic prosperity for more than half a century.

“Today marks an important leap forward in Wales’ economic potential, increasing our appeal to external investors but also ensuring businesses, commuters and tourists on both sides of the border are no longer hampered by a fee restricting them from carrying out their everyday lives.

Severn Bridge Bristol UK at sunrise

Removing the tolls will cement the already strong ties between the economies and communities of South Wales and the South West of England, creating a growth corridor for prosperity to flourish from Cardiff, through Newport to Bristol and beyond.”

The Freight Transport Association (FTA), which represents hauliers and logistics firms, described the removal of the tolls as a “special gift”.

Sally Gilson, the FTA’s head of policy for Wales, said: “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.  The removal of the tolls will provide a much needed boost to logistics businesses in both the South West and South Wales, unlocking new potential for growth in the region and ensuring that businesses along the Severn estuary are able to trade effectively during a challenging economic climate.

“Our members spend millions of pounds on the crossings every year, money which can now be invested in future-proofing their businesses with initiatives such as staff upskilling, recruitment and purchasing greener vehicles.”