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M6 Toll up for sale for £2 billion

Pay-as-you-drive route has failed to attract enough drivers since 2003 opening

The M6 Toll has been condemned for low driver numbers.
The M6 Toll has been condemned for low driver numbers.

The Midlands' most controversial road has put up for sale – with a price tag of almost £2 billion.

The M6 Toll – condemned for low traffic levels and its failure to ease the burden on the main M6 – is being sold by the group of banks which owns it.

Watch: A lorry drives the wrong way down the M6 Toll

Operated by Midland Expressway, it opened in 2003 but has run up a total debt of around £1.9 billion.

News of the sale sparked renewed calls for the pay-as-you-drive motorway to be brought under state ownership.

Ukip transport spokesman and West Midlands MEP Jill Seymour said: “This is the perfect opportunity for the Government to step in and bring it into national control, making it free to use for all drivers.

“And before people start shouting about us being unable to afford such a huge sum of money in times of austerity, it pales into insignificance next to the eye-watering £55 billion we are paying on HS2 – a project which will benefit far fewer commuters, and should be scrapped.

“Road users contribute some £50 billion a year through a variety of taxes, yet only around £6 billion is re-invested in the transport network.

“UKIP is opposed to this highway robbery.

“We want to block the introduction of any new toll roads, and work towards removing existing tolls from publicly owned roads.

“The sale of the M6 Toll gives us a perfect opportunity to put right a terrible wrong.”

The route, which charges £5.50 for cars and £11 for HGVs, is used by just under 50,000 vehicles a day.

In contrast, an estimated 200,000 vehicles pass through Spaghetti Junction on the M6.

Only last week, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin agreed to look into opening up the M6 Toll to ease gridlock on the M6.

It came after a stretch of the main motorway was closed for almost 24 hours following a fatal crash.

Midland Expressway refused to comment on the sale.

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