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Cornwall's bridge and ferry tolls may rise

Cornwall's bridge and ferry tolls may rise

Published by Emma Carton at 6:21am 17th December 2018. (Updated at 10:18am 17th December 2018)

By Local Democracy Reporter, Richard Whitehouse

A formal application is set to be made to increase the cost of crossing from Cornwall into Devon by 33%.

Cornwall Council's cabinet will be asked to approve a bid to the Department for Transport (DfT) to increase Tamar Bridge tolls and the cost of using the Torpoint Ferry by a third.

It currently costs £1.50 for cars to cross the bridge or use the ferry but under the new charges it would jump to £2.

In addition Cornwall Council and Plymouth City Council - which are jointly responsible for managing the bridge and ferry - are set to ask the DfT to allow them to carry out annual reviews of the charges and increase them in line with inflation without having to go to the Government for approval.

The two council's leaders are also going to ask the DfT for more funding for the maintenance, improvements and operation of the bridge which would “reduce the burden on users”.

In a report to Cornwall Council's Cabinet it is stated that the increase is needed because in the last year the bridge has been operating at a deficit. It adds that expenditure has exceeded income and, as a result reserves are said to be "depleted".

tamar bridge 1
A bid to increase tolls on the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry by 33% will go before Cornwall Council this week

Explaining the increase in costs the report highlights inflation costs, growth in the capital programme and increased maintenance on the bridge and ferry.

The report also states that the level of traffic has also grown relatively slowly and, as a result, so has income.

It states that by raising the income it will provide for forecast costs and make it self-financing.

Turning to the request for the DfT to provide more funding the report says this would be for:

"Any future bridge strengthening and other improvement projects such as electronic tolling to realise capacity potential, lane studs to improve safety.

"There are also ongoing operational costs associated with operating a tidal flow carriageway, control room staff and enhanced vehicle recovery regimes".

Explaining the benefit of the proposals for residents the report says:

"The proposed toll increase will fund the operation maintenance and improvement of the two crossings to provide safe reliable and efficient services.

"The review of the toll revision process should reduce the future large step increase in any rises, and potentially lever in some central Government funding to reduce the maintenance burden on fare paying users".

Cornwall Council's Cabinet will meet on Tuesday December 18th.

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