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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 January 2008, 12:27 GMT
End date for road bridges' tolls
Tolls
Jobs are expected to be lost at the Forth bridge
Tolls on the Forth and Tay road bridges will be scrapped in less than two weeks, it has been confirmed.

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson has signed an order removing the tolls from 11 February.

The date was agreed with both bridge authorities after the legislation scrapping the tolls received Royal Assent.

The Forth Estuary Transport Authority and Tay Road Bridge Joint Board remain responsible for managing the bridges.

They will receive funding directly from the Scottish Government.

There will now be equality on all bridges in Scotland and I am sure this announcement will be welcomed by people across the country
Stewart Stevenson
Transport Minister

The Tay board will also receive a one-off grant of 14.8m to allow it to repay all outstanding loans.

The minister said: "We said when we came into power that we would bring an end to tolls on Forth and Tay bridges, and less than nine months into government, that is exactly what we have done.

"Today marks the end of years of injustice for the people of Fife, Tayside and the Lothians, and I am delighted that in just a few days' time travellers across the bridges will no longer have to pay tolls.

"There will now be equality on all bridges in Scotland and I am sure this announcement will be welcomed by people across the country."

Feta convener Tony Martin said: "Confirmation of the date means we can now press ahead with the practical arrangements.

"Our preparations are well in hand and we're eager to move into this new era."

Job losses

Dundee Lord Provost John Letford, who chairs the Tay Bridge Board, said the decision to scrap the tolls was widely welcomed by the travelling public and local business.

He said: "Removing the tolls will also bring benefits in reducing congestion and pollution in Dundee as bridge traffic will no longer have to queue at the toll booths during the evening rush hour."

The legislation scrapping tolls on the two bridges - 1 for cars on the Forth bridge and 80p on the Tay - was backed by the Scottish Parliament on 10 December.

It is believed that 33 of the 104 staff involved in toll collection and administration at the Forth bridge will be made redundant as a result of the move.

The bridge's new toll booths were opened in 2006 at a cost of 4m in a bid to manage traffic flow and make toll collection easier.

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

SEE ALSO
MSPs support bridge tolls removal
07 Nov 07 |  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
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

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