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Last Updated: Monday, 13 March 2006, 13:28 GMT
Bridge board call to scrap tolls
Tay Road Bridge (picture by Undiscovered Scotland)
There is an 80p toll on the Tay Road Bridge
The board that manages the Tay Road Bridge has decided to ask Scottish Executive ministers to scrap its tolls.

The Tay Road Bridge joint board unanimously agreed to write to Transport Minister Tavish Scott to ask for the charges to be abolished.

Councillors on the board took the decision after a review which saw tolls scrapped on the Erskine Bridge over the Clyde but not the Tay or Forth Bridges.

The executive said removing the 80p Tay toll would increase congestion.

However the board, made up of councillors from Dundee, Fife and Angus, made the decision on Monday, taking the view that scrapping tolls on the Erskine crossing but not the Tay was completely unfair.

The executive said removing the charge on the Erskine Bridge would ease congestion in Glasgow, but argued that lifting the tolls on the Tay Road Bridge would increase traffic congestion and air pollution.

'Pollution' concern

The cost of building the bridge was also still to be paid off, a spokesman said.

Dundee Lord Provost John Letford, who chairs the joint board, said he hoped Mr Scott would "sit up and take notice" of its decision.

"It would be true to say that over the years there's been an acceptance that a toll was necessary under the conditions that we had to operate the bridge," he said.

"Many of the board who in the past have said the tolls were necessary are now very angry indeed that we have been discriminated against."

Mr Letford said the outcome of the executive's tolling review was "extremely unfair and unjust".

congestion 'increase'

He added: "(Mr Scott) did not treat the Tay Road Bridge and the Forth as he did the Erskine and there are suggestions that there has been political interference with the Erskine and the Skye bridge."

Mr Letford also said the argument that congestion in Dundee would increase if the Tay tolls were scrapped "beggared belief", adding: "I think it's absolute nonsense and I can't understand that argument."

His comments were echoed by the National Alliance Against Tolls Scotland.

A spokesman said: "Everyone apart from the Scottish Executive realises that the congestion in Dundee and any resulting air pollution is mainly caused by drivers queuing to pay the tolls.

"Scottish drivers pay 4m a year in Tay bridge tolls on top of 4bn a year in road taxes, so it is a mystery how a bridge that cost less than 5m to build 40 years ago, is 'still to be paid off'."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Hear John Letford outine the case against tolls



SEE ALSO:
Bridge tolls shake-up announced
01 Mar 06 |  Scotland
In quotes: Bridge tolls shake-up
01 Mar 06 |  Scotland
16m revamp plan for Tay Bridge
25 May 05 |  Scotland


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