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Horseboxes with permanent living accommodation can now pass over the Severn Bridge for a third of the previous toll price.

For the past 30 years, HGV horseboxes have been charged the maximum rate of £15.90. But because motor caravans and mobile homes are charged the lowest fee of £5.30, campaigners proposed that the same fee should apply to horseboxes with livings. Severn Rivers Crossing plc agreed to the proposal on 17 March.

Since last October, James Broome of the David Broome Event Centre near Chepstow, has campaigned for a reduced fee.

He said: “The Severn Bridges Act 1992 states that if a vehicle falls into two of the three categories, the lower should be used. We found a loophole — a horsebox is a motorhome that happens also to take horses. When we looked at the Act, there was no argument.”

The David Broome Event Centre runs 100 days of competition each year, with 850 horses flocking over the bridge for its biggest show.

Jim Clune of Severn Rivers Crossing said the reduced toll only applies to horseboxes with permanent living accommodation, including washing and cooking facilities.

“We understand that since the toll prices were set 30 years ago, horseboxes have changed to include permanent living, so the lower price will apply to those vehicles,” he told H&H. “But they won’t be applicable to the older-style horseboxes with a bunk behind the cab.”

But Mr Clune warned that toll prices on the Severn Bridge cannot be applied to the Dartford Tunnel and M6 toll.

“The EU has published a directive calling for commonality in toll charges across Europe, so it’s likely things will change again in the future,” he said, adding, “but not immediately.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (27 March, ’08)