M6 Toll hikes horrendous news for the region
Tuesday, February 1 2011
West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass says more cash-strapped car owners and hard-pressed hauliers will be forced to steer clear of the under-utilised M6 Toll as the cost of using the road is set to rise again next month.
The UKIP MEP, who is a member of the EU’s Transport and Tourism Committee, says the decision to hike toll charges could prove a costly mistake as motorists are already feeling the pinch thanks to the spiraling cost of fuel at the pumps.
Midland Expressway Ltd has announced that new increased toll prices will apply on the 27-mile route from 6am on March 1.
But, Mr Nattrass says the move is a major slap in the face for motorists, businesses and hauliers who will be priced off the M6 Toll and onto alternative free routes.
From March 1, car drivers will pay £5.30 (up from £5) to use the road and HGV drivers will see the cost rise from £10 to a whopping £10.60.
Commenting on hikes, UKIP Transport spokesman Mike Nattrass said "The AA was right to say the toll increase could ‘backfire’. This road was designed to relieve the M6 through Birmingham by diverting traffic and in the most part this will not happen if these charges exist.
"Taxes on the motorist are high enough without charging for use of public roads. This is a step back to the Middle Ages when the Barons would charge those who had the nerve to travel though their land.
“Last year, a damning report by the Campaign for Better Transport, said the privately financed toll road had proved to be bad news for drivers, for the West Midlands and indeed bad news for the investors in the Toll itself,” said Mr Nattrass.
“These toll charge increases will add to the woes for motorists and hauliers who will just avoid the road completely. Let’s not forget the Toll was initially designed to be a relief road.
“Midlands Expressway Ltd says the Toll offers an 'excellent driver experience'. That’s because there is hardly any traffic as few vehicles use this expensive road and instead use roads such as the congested A5.
“But, despite this the EU wants to extend the toll motorways network under its European Electronic Toll Service Directive (EETS). The whole idea is to learn from mistakes and not repeat them.
“British motorways should remain in public ownership and using rail more for the transport of goods would go some way towards tackling pollution and congestion on our roads,”