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Tuesday, 22 October, 2002, 19:51 GMT 20:51 UK
First road toll cuts traffic by 90%
Saddler Street in Durham
Vehicles must pay to use Durham's Saddler Street
Traffic on Britain's first toll road for 100 years has been dramatically cut by 90% in less than a month.

From 1 October, motorists were charged 2 for access to Saddler Street - a narrow road which runs through the heart of the historic city of Durham.

Council officials have declared the country's first congestion charging scheme a huge success.

The number of vehicles now using the busy route, from the Market Place up to the Cathedral, has fallen from about 2,000-a-day to as low as 300.

Public acceptance

Chris Tunstall, director of Environment services for Durham County Council, says people are accepting the charge.

He said: "People simply do not like paying.

"If we think back 20 years we can remember how unpopular having to pay for street parking was.

"But now people accept that charging like this is the way forward.

"In 20 years we will all be used to being charged for access to highways."

Dodging

The 2 charge covers all vehicles using Saddler Street and Market Place between 1000 BST and 1600 BST, Monday to Saturday.

A ticket machine is linked to an automatic bollard in the carriageway, which lowers on payment.

The system is monitored by security cameras and drivers caught dodging the system could be fined up to 30.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has criticised the plan, claiming it penalises shops in the area who need deliveries.

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 ON THIS STORY
Look North's Tony Baker
"It's something Durham will have to come to terms with"

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See also:

01 Oct 02 | England
01 Oct 02 | England
26 Jul 02 | Scotland
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