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£2 charge to cross the Tamar moves closer

£2 charge to cross the Tamar moves closer

Published by the Pirate FM News Team at 6:19am 19th December 2018. (Updated at 8:30am 19th December 2018)

By Local Democracy Reporter, Richard Whitehouse

Tolls need to be increased on the Tamar Bridge to prevent a repeat of disaster in Italy which saw a major bridge collapse, killing 43 people.

Cornwall Council Cabinet member Geoff Brown told councillors that there was a need to hike tolls by 33% so maintenance can be carried out.

He said: "It is essential to avoid catastrophic failure as we saw in Italy earlier this year".

The Liberal Democrat councillor was referring to the collapse of the Morandi Bridge in Genoa in August which killed motorists as they crossed.

Cllr Brown, Cabinet member for transport, added: "We must maintain the bridge and ferries at all costs. We don't want a catastrophic incident like we saw in Italy because of poor maintenance".

tamar bridge 2
Cornwall Council has approved a bid, that will now go to government, to hike the tolls to cross the Tamar by 33%

The Cabinet agreed to submit a formal request, with Plymouth City Council, to the Government to increase the cost of using the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry by 33%

This means that the cost for a car could rise from £1.50 to £2 in July 2019.

Both councils, which are responsible for the bridge, are also set to ask for more control from the Department for Transport over the cost of tolls so they might be increased in future according to inflation. The last time a toll rise was implemented was in 2010.

There will also be a request for the Government to provide more funding for the bridge.

However the proposals for a toll increase have not been universally supported – Looe councillor Armand Toms said he was totally against it.

He said the charges should remain the same and it was unfair to make people who live in south east Cornwall who rely on the bridge face an increase when they are also facing increases in council tax bills.

tamar bridge 1
One councillor told the meeting the rise to £2 was needed to prevent a repeat of the disaster like the Italy bridge collapse

Cllr Toms said: "It is an added cost, a cost for people who are working to get a better life and better jobs across the water".

He also highlighted that people in south east Cornwall also have to use the crossings to access health services which are in Plymouth and claimed businesses had been leaving from places like Torpoint and into Devon because of the costs.

Independent councillor Bert Biscoe said that while he recognised the council asking for more support from the Government he warned "be careful what you wish for".

He said it was vital that the councils keep ownership of the bridge and ferries to ensure they continue to provide a service for people all over Cornwall.

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