Plans to raise the cost of using the M6 toll road later this month have been met with strong opposition from residents, hauliers and politicians, who say the move will have a negative impact on air quality and congestion.
An open letter, led by West Midlands Mayor Andy Street and signed by six local MPs, read: “We are extremely disappointed at the decision to increase charges, in particular for HGVs.
“This will do nothing to move more vans and heavy goods vehicles off the region’s other major roads and onto the M6toll.
“This needs to happen if we are serious about improving air quality and managing congestion.
“Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) and Highways England have worked tirelessly with Midlands Expressway Ltd over the last 12 months to make better use of the M6 Toll as part of the region’s wider road network.
“Actions include improved signage and other measures to encourage more long distance traffic, especially HGVs, off the M6 and onto the M6 Toll.”
Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation, added: “It would be a great pity if this sharp hike in tolls persuaded drivers to stick with the old M6 – commercial traffic is particularly price sensitive.”
Richard Burnett, Chief Executive of the Road Haulage Association said: “For many hauliers the M6 toll road has never been the route of choice – they simply can’t afford to use it. They must make every penny count and spending £11 pounds on a one-way journey, let alone using every day, is simply out of the question.
“So why have the Midlands Expressway decided to increase the rate for HGVs now – at a time when the price of diesel has just risen by another two pence per litre – adding over £800 per vehicle to a trucker’s annual operating costs?”