Highland Scottish National Party members have promised Skye Bridge toll campaigners they will ask their party's annual conference in Inverness in September for an inquiry in the new Scottish parliament into the legitimacy of the tolls.
Donnie Kerr, the Convener of the SNP's constituency association said, "We have given an undertaking to SKAT that local delegates will urge the forthcoming SNP annual conference in Inverness to adopt a policy which will commit the Scottish Parliament to instigating an immediate inquiry into the legitimacy of the Skye Bridge toll regime and contracts associated with it."
"Should the contract with the concessionaire prove to be irrevocable, then we will urge that the present tolls be replaced with shadow tolls at once and the bridge be taken into public ownership within the first four years of an independent Scotland."
The SNP's support is welcomed, but the present Labour Government also made similar calls and promises prior to being elected. And what has happened since...? Not a lot.
Meanwhile the plans for a long overdue new supermarket by the Co-op may be put at risk if, as expected, the new supermarkets access to the store comes from the Skye Bridge approach road at Kyle. SKAT say that a High Court ruling made by Lord Cameron means that anyone travelling on ANY part of the road scheme from the Bank of Scotland in Kyle to the Kyleakin roundabout is technically due to pay a toll. The New Streets & Road Works Act 1991, which covers the Skye Bridge, states that a toll is due if a person uses any part covered by a toll order - meaning not just if you pass over the bridge or the toll booth, but any part of the scheme.
Robbie the Pict says "The new Co-op itself will be a commercial development in a designated recreational area. Any such exploitation of Hamilton Park is prohibited by the trust deeds and could only be enabled following a compulsory purchase order."
Robbie's civil court action against Miller Civil Engineering to try and remove the tolls is now a step closer to its conclusion. Lady Cosgrove, who was the last judge to hear the case, has asked for a closed record, which means both sides will have to put forward their final positions. The petition will then go to the Court of Session where a date will be fixed for a hearing.
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Copyright © Ray Shields, 1998.
Most recent revision, 16 July 1998