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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 September 2007, 09:14 GMT 10:14 UK
Bill aims to scrap bridge tolls
Forth Road Bridge
The SNP has described the bridge tolls as unfair
The bid to scrap tolls on the Forth and Tay road bridges has moved forward with the publication of a bill in the Scottish Parliament.

The Scottish National Party made ending tolls a pledge at May's election.

It is understood the project will cost up to 16m per year to implement plus a similar amount to pay off the existing debt on the Tay Bridge.

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson said he wanted tolls removed as soon as practicable.

'Unfair' charges

Mr Stevenson said: "If passed, all road bridges in Scotland will be free thus ending years of injustice for the communities of Fife, Tayside and the Lothians.

"We believe that it is unfair and unacceptable that the two road bridges into and out of Fife are the only remaining toll bridges in Scotland

"The proposal of a bill has received support in parliament, and more importantly, from the general public.

"We hope to remove tolls at the earliest opportunity, subject to due parliamentary process."

The opposition parties have agreed to back the Abolition of Bridge Tolls (Scotland) Bill on a number of conditions, including;

  • the government demonstrating that it has plans to manage congestion
  • ensuring that it can afford to fund maintenance and repairs

  • and that it will provide support for toll collection staff who stand to lose their jobs

If the legislative process goes to plan then the crossings should become free early in the new year.

Charges for the Skye and Erskine Bridges have already been scrapped.

The abolition of tolls bill was the first piece of legislation introduced to parliament by the new Scottish Government.


SEE ALSO
MSPs vote to scrap bridge tolls
31 May 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Union unease at bridge toll plans
30 May 07 |  Scotland
Salmond plans to end bridge tolls
23 May 07 |  Scotland
Party moves to scrap bridge tolls
30 Mar 07 |  Scotland
Ministers to back Forth crossing
10 Feb 07 |  Scotland
Bridges debate ends in stalemate
08 Feb 07 |  Scotland

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