Road Toll System in UK

Similar to other countries around the world, UK has a road toll system which helps in facilitating the upkeep and maintenance of privately-maintained roads, bridges and tunnels, and occasionally, the recovery of construction cost.

The toll system, or turnpike trust, has actually been a facet of road management in the UK for almost three hundred years. At its peak in 1825, there were over a thousand turnpike trusts managing about 30,000 miles of connecting roads across the land. However, the advent and subsequent empowerment of the local council, as well as the stupendous growth of the railway system, gradually saw the demise of the turnpike system.

Today, there are 23 toll roads in UK. The largest, in terms of traffic and revenue, is the M6 motorway in West Midlands, which is a 27-mile-long, six-lane expressway connecting the Coleshill Interchange and Wolverhampton. Motorists pay between £1.80 and £11 (depending on vehicle type and time of day) to use the road.

Other major toll roads in the country include:

There are another 19 toll-charging bridges and tunnels in the country. However, the most memorable of the lot is the Swinford Toll Bridge in Oxfordshire. The limestone bridge, which was built in 1769, spans strategically across the River Thames, which allow motorists to enter and leave Oxford city centre with relative ease (aside from the traffic jams). Incredibly, the toll for the bridge is 5 pence. Considering that up to four million people use the bridge annually, the revenue adds up to quite a bit - especially since the bridge is a tax haven (a gift legislation from King George III to his friend, the Earl of Abingdon, the original owner of the bridge).