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Last Updated: Monday, 11 February 2008, 10:38 GMT
Tolls removed from Scots bridges
Toll payer
Drivers no longer have to pay to cross the bridges

Tolls have been officially abolished on the Forth and Tay road bridges after years of campaigning by drivers.

The final fee-paying motorists crossed the bridges at midnight before the charges, of 1 on the Forth Bridge and 80p on the Tay Bridge, were lifted.

Scrapping of the tolls was a major manifesto commitment by the SNP during the 2007 Scottish elections.

Legislation to remove the fee was given royal assent last month. It means Scotland now has no chargeable roads.

Funding for both bridges will now be provided entirely by the Scottish Government.

Supermarket worker Lorraine Cleverley was the first driver to cross the Forth Road Bridge after the tolls were abolished.

The extra road traffic that will be generated will cost the Scottish economy, increase local pollution and push up climate change emissions
Dr Dan Barlow
WWF Scotland

She said: "The guy came up and said I was the first person to cross. I thought 'wow, it makes it well worth going into work today'."

A few minutes before midnight, student Ashley Gregor was the last driver to pay on the Tay bridge.

She said: "It's brilliant because sometimes I can pay two or three times a day just going back and forward to university, so I think it's great".

Gordon Struthers was the first motorist to drive without paying on the Tay bridge.

He said: "It's the end of an era really. I've been paying 80p to go across the bridge for 10 years now, two or three times a day, so it feels amazing to get across for free."

'Great day'

Politicians in Fife have been critical of the tolls, particularly since fees on other bridges in Scotland were abolished.

In recent years, the charges have only applied at the point where drivers cross into the area and have often been described as a "tax on Fifers".

Fife Council's leader, councillor Peter Grant, said: "This is a great day for Fife, as it brings an end to the unfairness that the tolls have caused to people living, working and investing in Fife compared with the rest of Scotland."

The move was also welcomed by groups who have campaigned to have the tolls removed.

Workmen removing toll booths on the Forth Bridge
Work to remove the toll booths began on Saturday

A spokesman for the National Alliance Against Tolls (NAAT) said: "It has been a long fight to remove the tolls and we are delighted that Scotland will again be a toll-free nation.

"This will not only be a boost for the immediate area of the tolls, it will also enable Scotland as a toll-free nation to attract more inward investment and tourists."

However, environmental group WWF Scotland said the scrapping of the tolls would only add to the global problem of climate change through an increase in traffic levels.

Acting director Dr Dan Barlow said: "On economic, social and environmental grounds there is simply no justification for scrapping these tolls.

"The extra road traffic that will be generated will cost the Scottish economy, increase local pollution and push up climate change emissions."

He added: "The Scottish Government's recently launched climate consultation acknowledges the urgent need to curb climate emissions.

"Sadly, their decision to axe road tolls simply makes the job of tackling climate emissions that much harder."

Tolls on the Skye Bridge were removed in December 2004 and on the Erskine Bridge in May 2006.

A one-off payment of 14.8m is being made to the Tay Bridge Board to pay off its outstanding debts.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Drivers' reaction to the toll-free bridges



SEE ALSO
The road to dumping bridge tolls
11 Feb 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Bridge tolls' demolition begins
07 Feb 08 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
In quotes: Bridge toll abolition
07 Nov 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Concern over bridge staff morale
11 Sep 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Bill aims to scrap bridge tolls
04 Sep 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
MSPs vote to scrap bridge tolls
31 May 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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