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M4 toll plans come under fire

According to reports, the new toll motorway will feature in June's comprehensive spending review as part of a major road package.

Yet the announcement has been criticised by David Brennan, Managing Director, LeasePlan, who said: ‘The underused M6 has shown that toll roads in the UK are too expensive for most drivers. We know that business drivers are already under huge financial strain. Our recent research with YouGov showed that almost half (47%) of business drivers believe that life is harder for them than it was a year ago. Charging motorists to use yet another road will exert even more pressure on this group of beleaguered drivers. 

‘While infrastructure investment is crucial for kickstarting this country’s stuttering economy, I firmly believe investment in toll roads is the wrong way to go. Other areas for this investment that have been suggested, including upgrading the vital A1 link in the north of England, would be far more beneficial to driver-reliant businesses desperate for government assistance to get their income moving once again.’

Meanwhile AA president Edmund King greeted the idea of improvements to the M4 but warned that tolls could deter motorists.

He commented: ‘We have seen with the M6 Toll that drivers can be turned off by the imposition of charges. There is already a toll to get into Wales on the Severn Crossing but no toll to get out. There is no doubt that the M4 around Newport needs improving. At the moment if there is a bad accident and the road is closed there is no real alternative for drivers.

‘But if the road is tolled it reduces its economic effectiveness as a lot of people will be put off using it and will simply avoid it.’

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.