MEP demands action over M6 Toll fiasco

Tuesday, January 31 2012

West Midlands MEP Mike Nattrass has called for the M6 Toll to be nationalised following an announcement that charges to use the road are to rise again from March 1.

The UKIP MEP, who is a member of the EU’s Transport & Tourism Committee, has called on the Government to buy back the M6 Toll and put it back into public ownership following news that charges to use the under-utilised 27-mile long route are to be hiked despite new figures showing the number of vehicles using the road had fallen by more than 10 per cent.

Midland Expressway Ltd (MEL), the company that runs the Toll, has announced that car drivers will be charged 5.50 (up 20p) and lorry drivers be have to fork out 11 (a rise of 40p) to use the route from March 1.

These rises will be implemented despite new figures revealing that more and more motorists are avoiding the route and the escalating toll charges. Data produced by MEL reported average daily traffic was 34,286 between October and December 2011 compared with 38,405 during the same period in 2010.

Commenting on these traffic figures and the forthcoming toll increases, Mr Nattrass said it was time for the Government to take action and nationalise the road.

He said: “The M6 Toll, which was designed to be a relief road, has been an abject failure. Figures show fewer and fewer vehicles are using this road but despite this trend MEL, which posted 49 million losses last summer, will be hitting motorists with increased toll charges from March.

“More and more money is being put into expensive upgrades to the M6 as a consequence of M6 Toll’s failure.

“Despite this failure, the EU wants to repeat the mistake elsewhere in this country by extending the toll network under its European Electronic Toll Service (EETS) Directive.

“It is time for the Government to step in, buy back the road and put it back into public ownership. This costly white elephant should be put out of its misery for the good of motorists and the West Midlands region as a whole.

“Our roads should be free to use and remain in public ownership. It is time for the Government to act. What is the value of a road that makes a loss?”