The two Severn bridges that have spanned across the River Severn and River Wye since 1966 and 1996 respectively, have always had a toll that one must pay upon crossing either bridge. On the 17th of December this year, this is set to change as the Welsh Secretary, Alun Cairns, revealed that they will be abolished completely. This has implications that affect many different areas and industries of modern life, but the housing market in Wales will be particularly affected.
The scrapped toll’s effect on the Welsh housing market
Housing prices are expected to rise as the scrapping of the bridge toll means the link between Gloucestershire and South Wales is strengthened and the easier movement of traffic will result in an increased rate of property development. If people no longer need to worry about paying a toll every time they’d like to cross over from South East Wales to South West England and vice versa, they are more likely to want to live within close proximity of the Severn crossing.
This higher demand for housing will drive the prices up but it also means that the value of those homes already within proximity of the Severn crossing will rise. It’s estimated that commuting costs will drop by up to £1400 a year which shows it’s no surprise that the idea of living across the Welsh border is sounding more appealing to buyers.
In fact, it has already been revealed that the average house sales in Monmouthshire, Newport, and Torfaen have increased by 13.2%. Monmouthshire and Newport are some of the closest authorities to the Severn crossing, so this makes sense.
The scrapped toll’s effect on traffic
As you might expect, it’s almost inevitable that the traffic on certain roads, particularly those that are directly connected to either of the Severn bridges, will be drastically increased. Thanks to the abolishment of the Severn crossing toll, more people are inclined to use it, which could very well result in traffic jams, specifically along the M4 and M5.
It’s estimated that there will be approximately 16,000 extra car journeys each day once the bridge tolls are abolished, which translates to roughly 6 million extra journeys per year.
A boost in business
When the toll is scrapped, a ‘psychological barrier’ will be lifted which will result in a better economic relationship between South Wales and Gloucestershire according to Phil Smith, the managing director of Business West. The first Newport business growth expo was held in September and it saw visitors from Wales, Bristol, and Gloucestershire attend, which gives us a glimpse into the newfound enthusiasm for toll-free business.
The removal of the toll means that more educated young workers will be interested in working for firms in the affected areas, which should also lead to economic benefits.
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