Forest of Dean businessman's pitch for Severn bridge toll cut

A Gloucestershire businessman has met with a government minister to argue that tolls on the Severn bridges are detrimental to the local economy.

Don Burgess is chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in the Forest of Dean and owner of the Freeminer Brewery.

Mr Burgess said the charge for using the bridges adds 10% to delivery costs.

The bridges are currently run by a private company but are due to revert to public ownership in 2018.

'Pressing the case'

Mr Burgess was invited to meet Transport Minister Stephen Hammond, to discuss his concerns.

"I take it as a positive that a business from the Forest of Dean was invited to talk at the table," said Mr Burgess.

"The Forest is the bit that everybody forgets but we get affected by bridge fees as much as anybody else.

"It's effectively a tax for coming in the south end of the Forest of Dean."

Mr Burgess said although nobody was prepared to make any concessions or promise anything during his meeting he was determined to keep pressing the case.

"I think the only way we're going to get anything done is by being a continuous squeaky wheel and it's always the squeaky wheel that gets the oil," he said.

It costs £6.20 to take a car over the bridges from England to Wales. Driving into England is free.

The toll for vans and minibuses is £12.40 and £18.60 for lorries and coaches.

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