Another Scottish tolls battle
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• The Freight Transport Association has made a strong objection to the Scottish Office over the proposed new tolls for the Erskine Bridge, and has called for informal talks between the Scottish Secretary, the FTA and interested parties. The Road Haulage Association, too, has called for discussions—or alternatively a public inquiry.
The proposed tolls are: hgv lOs (50p); stage or express carriage psv 5s (25p); cars and goods vehicles not exceeding 30cwt 3s (15P) Where the heavy goods vehicle will be crossing the bridge more than 32 times in a calendar month, the single journey toll will be 6s (30p). Vehicles requiring escorts are to be charged at £5.
The FTA complains that the proposed lOs toll fails to take account of low-value short-journey traffic; nowhere else in Scotland were commercial vehicle operators required to pay a lOs toll—a similar point to that of the RHA that as the bridge is part of a national network there should be no charge; the RHA also says that such an imposition would lead to higher prices for the public; both Associations believe tolls would tend to divert traffic to other toll-free crossings. "It is most important that advantage of the bridge should be taken to relieve traffic congestion in Glasgow," adds the FTA.
At the inaugural dinner on Friday of the PTA's Scottish division pleas were made for the Scottish Secretary, Mr Gordon Campbell, to think again over the tolls; but the draft of the Erskine Bridge Tolls Order 1971 was announced within 48 hours.