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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 April, 2005, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK
Forth Bridge toll rise confirmed
Forth Road Bridge
Forth Road Bridge tolls have not risen since 1986
The cost of crossing the Forth Road Bridge by car is to rise by 20p to 1 from early next month.

The operator of Scotland's busiest toll bridge has confirmed the first increase for motorists since 1986.

The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (Feta) had planned to introduce the rise last year, but a Fife resident's objection forced a public inquiry.

The reporter found in favour of Feta and gave the green light to a rise coming in at the beginning of May.

The Scottish Executive has now accepted those findings and has agreed to revise the "tolls order", which allows the new levy to come into force. from 1 May.

'Uncertainty ended'

The authority's depute general manager, Barry Colford, said it was pleased that the executive had made the announcement.

"It puts an end to a period of great uncertainty for Feta as we can now forge ahead with the essential maintenance and projects that were reliant on the 20p increase," he said.

Feta chief executive Douglas Sinclair went on: "The confirmation of the tolls increase will also enable us to start work on the consolidation of mine works that are essential to get the A8000 upgrade off the ground.

Bridge tolling system - Feta
The new levy covers cars and light goods vehicles

"This 20p increase is the first in 19 years. Had the tolls increased in line with inflation, car drivers would be charged 1.56."

The 1 toll will apply to cars and light goods vehicles not exceeding 3.5 tonnes. All other tolls will remain static.

The authority said the delay had cost it 1m in lost revenue, money that could have been put towards the bridge's increasingly expensive repair programme.

Feta claimed during the inquiry that it would face debts of almost 30m by 2018 if it was not allowed to raise tolls.

'Insult to users'

George Campbell, whose letter of complaint prompted the inquiry, argued that the tolls already generated millions of pounds for maintenance - and had paid back the cost of building the bridge.

Mr Campbell was supported by Fifers Against Toll Increases and the National Alliance Against Tolls.

A spokesman for the toll objectors said: "The authority failed to make a case for the toll increase and we are amazed at the decision of the Scottish Executive.

"It is an insult to those who use the bridge."

Meanwhile, roadworks will force long delays for motorists on most weekends between now and December.

The case for a second crossing over the Forth could gather momentum when the bridge operators meet at the end of this month.


SEE ALSO:
Bridge work will disrupt traffic
15 Apr 05 |  Scotland
Motorists attack bridge toll rise
07 Dec 04 |  Scotland
Toll rise 'needed to meet costs'
06 Dec 04 |  Scotland


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