Driving on the UK roads can be either leisurely or stressful, much depends on where in the country you are. Fast-paced motorways can be just a few miles from small, beautiful, and peaceful country roads. Quaint back roads can likewise be minutes from built-up towns and confusing A roads.
What further adds to this though is that to access some of these roads, you must pay for the privilege! Toll roads have been in the UK since as far back as the 1600s and collected money from those looking to travel between different areas. Whilst in significant numbers back then, there are vastly fewer today. Where they are present though, you still must pay the fee to be granted access.
The toll charges in the UK vary across different locations and are determined by various factors. The rates you pay will be calculated based on the vehicle type and the time of day as well as a few others. You could pay as little as 5p but also well over £10. In this week’s blog we explain all surrounding the toll road charges in the UK so hopefully, you won’t be caught unaware.
A toll road is a stretch of road that charges drivers to use it. Many in the UK are used to enable vehicles to cross a bridge although there are tolls also in place for selected motorways and tunnels.
We must go back to 1663 to find the first turnpike road, a road that travellers paid to use and saw that money invested in the upkeep of it. Whilst initially fast in emerging, progress was slowed at the dawn of the railway boom and by the late 1800s many roads were owned by local authorities and no longer had a charge.
To give a rough idea of just how many tolls there were in the UK, the number of roads, cottages or places that incorporate the name Turnpike or Bar gives a fantastic indicator.
Today, there are 19 toll roads in England of which some have been used to finance the construction of bridges or tunnels. This has seen a slight revival in recent years as developers look to recoup the costs of building new road systems via tolls.
In many instances, toll roads were put in place to cover the costs of maintaining the roads and cover the initial expense of constructing them. The fees may also go towards additional road improvements. Commonly seen as more direct, faster routes, toll roads offer road users an easier option to get to their destination but at a cost.
Some tolls in the UK are government owned whilst others are privately owned.
Across the UK there are currently 19 tolls applied to a variety of roads, bridges and tunnels. Charges for each vary and you may have to consult each tolls website for the latest information as it is subject to change.
The 19 tolls are:
In addition to these tolls, there are also charges such as the London Congestion Charge and Durham Road User Charge.
The charges for each toll road vary depending on several factors. As we mentioned earlier, the type of vehicle and the time you drive being two significant ones. In some instances, though the charge remains the same regardless of the vehicle you are driving. These charges are subject to change so always check in advance of any journey. We have presented the minimum to maximum charge for each toll to give you an indication as to what you may expect.
The toll charges in the UK currently are:
As you can see, prices vary significantly and for some of the smaller bridges only correct change will be accepted. In other instances, you can buy a book of tickets giving you further savings.
For some tolls, you will simply pay upon arrival at the toll, with others you can pay in advance online and simply have your registration scanned as you enter.
With many, you can take advantage of local schemes that save you further money, but should you only be visiting the area, this may not be the best option.
For the M6, for example, you can pay at a booth upon arrival or pay in advance and cut out queue times by using the dedicated lanes for prepayments. The Dartford Crossing though is slightly different. You can pay in advance of travel or after you have travelled as long as the payment is made before midnight the day after you have used the crossing. Failure to do so could result in a fine.
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