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12 June 2019, 08:08 | Updated: 12 June 2019, 08:12
The cost of driving on the M6 Toll in the West Midlands will increase by up to 50p per journey next month.
Operator Midland Expressway Limited announced a new pricing structure for travel on Britain's only privately-funded motorway will be introduced on July 12th.
Prices for weekday journeys between 7am and 7pm will rise to £6.70 for cars (up 30p), £11.80 for vans (up 50p) and £12 for lorries (up 50p).
The Road Haulage Association reacted angrily to the announcement.
A spokeswoman for the trade association told the Press Association: "Any increase in toll charges is unwelcome for the hard-pressed heavy haulage trade struggling with clean air zone charging and tight profit margins.
"Many operators have been put off using the M6 Toll for this very reason and it's hard to see how the increase will encourage more to use it."
The M6 Toll from Cannock, Staffordshire to Coleshill, Warwickshire opened in 2003 - at a cost of £900 million - in a bid to ease congestion on the M6 through Birmingham.
MEL says around 50,000 vehicles use the 27-mile route every day.
A new off-peak rate will be introduced next month for drivers using the motorway on weekdays between 5am and 7am, and between 7pm and 11pm.
Currently discounts are only available on weekdays between 11pm and 6am.
Three new multi-trip options are also being launched to enable drivers who regularly use the road to save money.
Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said: "Whilst the discount packages being introduced will appeal to regular commuters already using the M6 Toll, it seems unlikely the new, modestly-reduced off-peak rate in the early morning and mid-evening will do much to tempt a significant amount of traffic away from the original M6.
"For those willing to fork out, the M6 Toll offers 27 miles of free-flowing respite from the congestion on other routes. But given the volumes of traffic, particularly lorries, in this part of the world it is hard to see why a better outcome for more drivers couldn't be achieved by integrating it, toll-free, into the Highways England network."
MEL chief executive Andy Cliffe said the new price bands and multi-trip options are in response to customer feedback and will "maximise the positive impact of the M6 Toll across the Midlands and beyond".
He went on: "We remain committed to increasing the volume of HGV traffic using the M6 Toll in preference to the M6 or local roads, and ensure that our incentives for new HGV customers and pricing deals for commercial operators are innovative and attractive."