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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 July, 2004, 12:24 GMT 13:24 UK
M6 Toll charge cut to woo lorries
Charges for HGVs on Britain's only toll motorway are to be cut for a trial period after pressure from hauliers.

The operators of the M6 Toll also announced that a 1 discount for the first 10 million cars and vans to use the road is to end.

From Friday the 10 daytime charge for HGVs will drop to 6.

Charges for cars will rise from mid- August. Day tolls will be 3 per car and 2 at night. But charges for intermediate trips will not increase.

Since the road opened in December 2003 freight leaders have put pressure on Midland Expressway Limited (MEL) to cut charges for lorry users.

Reduces annual costs

Geoff Dossetter, External Affairs Director of the Freight Transport Association, said: "There can be no doubt that lorry operators have regarded the previous 10 rate as too high and not providing value for money in terms of the time saved by using the toll road.

'However, lorry operators are clearly willing to pay a fee which, in return, provides a financial operating benefit.

"The 40% cut in the toll now announced, reduces the annual cost for a return journey five days per week from 5,000 down to 3,000.

'Clearly individual lorry operators will now be giving new consideration to the option of using the M6 Toll and here at the FTA we forecast that many will be taking up this opportunity."

Period of road works

The road operators, Midland Expressway Ltd, said they were now "inviting hauliers to an extended trial of Britain's first privately-funded toll motorway".

Tom Fanning, managing director of MEL, said: "We're taking the opportunity to introduce the discount rates during the current period of road works on the M6, to further alleviate congestion in the region."

Digby Jones, Director General of the CBI, welcomed the discount period for hauliers. He said: "This is great news for business.

"Now it's up to the haulage industry to rise to the challenge and make full use of this road, which cuts journey times and aids productivity particularly during this difficult roadworks period."

Meanwhile, the Department for Transport has extended a consultation period on a possible tolled dual-lane expressway between Manchester and Birmingham to allow interested parties more time to respond.

The consultation - entitled M6: Giving Motorists A Choice - will now be open until October 21. A government spokesman said: "The Department for Transport is anxious that people have plenty of time to make comments."


SEE ALSO:
M6 Toll records broken by holiday
08 Jun 04  |  West Midlands


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