National Alliance Against Tolls - Summary of 2005 Tolls Consultation Responses

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Tolled Bridges Review Phase 2 - Consultation Responses

1. The Scottish Executive received 63 submissions for the Tolls Review. 61 have now been published on the Executive's website.

2. In many cases it is difficult to definitely determine whether the responses supported tolls or not. The Executive framed the questions on the assumption that tolls would be kept. In effect they were giving to the condemned, some choice as to the manner of execution.

3. Some responses did manage to indicate their opposition to tolls, with or without answering the questions as framed. We have assumed that those who did not indicate opposition, either support tolls or have no strong view.

4. 21 submissions were from individuals, including 3 MSPs from West Scotland. 14 of the 21 indicated that they opposed tolls on one or more bridges.

5. 40 submissions were from organisations, of which 13 indicated that they opposed tolls. 8 of the 13 only expressed opposition to the toll bridge in their own area:-

  • Argyll & Bute Council - "this Council reiterates its fundamental objection to tolls continuing on the Erskine Bridge",

  • Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce - "It is our policy that the tolls on the Erskine Bridge should be withdrawn .... Tolls create an artificial barrier to trade and discourage the free and true movement of goods and labour from one side of the Clyde to the other.",

  • Fife Council - "Council has reaffirmed its principled opposition to bridge tolls",

  • Glasgow City Council - "... Council's view that the tolls on the Erskine Bridge should be abolished.",

  • Inverclyde Council - "... considered that tolling on the Erskine Bridge will have adverse effects ... especially on the lower Clyde. As a result the Council agreed that tolling on the Erskine Bridge should end immediately",

  • Renfrewshire Council - "... continues to hold the view that the bridge should be free in the same manner as the remainder of the strategic road network in this area.... The strong social, economic and environmental arguments for abolishing tolls on the Erskine Bridge were forcibly made to the Executive ... in a letter signed by the 9 Council leaders associated with the Clyde Valley Community Planning partnership."

  • Strathclyde Passenger Transport - "... the ongoing presence of tolls on the (Erskine) bridge affects accessibility to employment opportunities, adversely affects local communities and increases traffic flows on the A82, the Clyde tunnel and the M8 in Renfrewshire."

  • West Of Scotland Transport Partnership - "The Partnership believes that tolls on the Erskine Bridge should be abolished".

  • 6. There were 5 submissions from organisations that indicated some degree of opposition to tolls on all three bridges. Apart from the NAAT, they were:-
  • Federation of Small Businesses - "Ideally we would envisage the bridges being part of the wider trunk road network and consequently toll-free."

  • Freight Transport Association - "would prefer to see all bridges toll free"

  • Scottish Council for Development and Industry - "As a supporting mechanism for economic development and social inclusion, SCDI feels that the abolition of tolls on all bridges in Scotland would be the most equitable course of action".

  • Transport Research Institute - "remove all tolls and pay for maintenance etc from fuel duty".
  • 7. The NAAT has not analysed the responses to the 20 questions posed by the Executive. Though most submissions gave an answer to at least some of the questions, we feel that there is no point in discussing the detail of how tolls are applied, when the vast majority of those affected by the tolls want to see them abolished.

    8. There was also some consultation as part of phase one of the review which took place a year ago. The Executive has not published any of the 35 responses that they received - 4 from MSPs, 18 letters from Bridge and Local Authority Transport Officials; 10 from organisations with an interest in the tolled bridges and 3 from private individuals.

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