Page last updated at 18:48 GMT, Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Bridge toll rise goes to inquiry

Humber Bridge
The toll bridge has been operating since 1981

Plans to increase tolls on the Humber Bridge will go to a public inquiry after huge public opposition.

The decision by the Department for Transport has been welcomed by Hull & Humber Chamber of Commerce, which says the tolls are damaging businesses.

But Richard Kendall, from the chamber, said he was disappointed that the rise has not been ruled out altogether.

The proposed rise means car drivers would pay 2.90 each way across the bridge, 20p more than current prices.

The proposed increases were subject to a period of public consultation which ended on 2 October and were opposed by residents, commuters and businesses.

Bridge debts

Mr Kendall said: "Given the huge opposition locally to the tolls going up I think there was little prospect of the Transport Secretary agreeing to the increase.

"We are glad that Geoff Hoon has announced an inquiry, but it is disappointing that he has not yet ruled out increasing the Humber Bridge tolls altogether.

"The chamber will be making a detailed submission to the inquiry on behalf of the local business community as part of the ongoing campaign against the tolls.

"It is important that we continue to make the case that the tolls are detrimental to our economy and we have strong evidence to back that up."

Earlier this month a study by the chamber showed that 87% of local business thought the tolls had a detrimental impact on their business and 82% wanted them to be totally abolished.

The Humber Bridge Board which controls the bridge has blamed a rise in inflation and "debts on the financing of the bridge" for the need for an increase.

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