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Tuesday, 30 November, 1999, 06:14 GMT
Motorists may face EU toll hike
Severn Crossing Tolls for cars on the Severn Crossing could rise to nearly 5

British motorists could face increased charges for using toll bridges and tunnels because of legal moves by the European Commission.

The Commission has taken the government to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg over its failure to apply VAT on road tolls.

Skye Bridge Drivers crossing Skye Bridge would have to find another 1
If the government loses the case, tolls would increase by 17.5%.

The bridges involved in the case include the controversial Skye bridge - together with the Tay, Forth and Erskine crossings in Scotland, and the Humber and Severn bridges in England and Wales.

Tunnels include those under the Tyne and Mersey.

The European Commission wants to harmonise VAT so that all member states pay similar taxes.

UK tolls
Skye Bridge - 4.70 winter single/5.70 summer single
Severn Bridge 4.20 westbound only
Humber Bridge 1.90
Tamar Bridge 1
Dartford Bridge 1
Forth Bridge 80p northbound only
Tay Bridge 80p southbound only
Cleddau Bridge 75p
Clifton Bridge 20p
Aldwark Bridge 8p
It has told the European court that the British Government is not fulfilling its obligation under community law.

The Department of Transport and the Scottish Executive argue that tolls should not be liable to VAT.

However, the Commission has a high success rate in cases of this type.

Rural impact

A spokesman for the the Automobile Association said it had the makings of another tax on the motorist, particularly in rural areas.

Drivers crossing the Skye bridge - who have to pay the highest tolls in Britain - would have to find an extra pound.

Coaches and lorries would have to pay about 5 more.

Currently, the charge to car drivers for using the Severn Crossing between Wales and England stands at 4.20, which could rise by 73p to approximately 4.93 if the changes are pushed through.

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See also:
06 Nov 99 |  Scotland
Call for bridge toll concessions
16 Sep 99 |  Scotland
Tories in drive against road tolls
23 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Government 'parks' car tolls
17 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Mixed response for road tolls
18 Nov 99 |  UK Politics
Prescott defends transport plans
14 Oct 99 |  UK
Huge increase in road use
25 Sep 99 |  UK Politics
Ministers urged to speed up transport reform

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