AddThis SmartLayers

Northcliffe trio team up to beat bridge toll hike

Three major regional newspapers have joined forces in a bid to fight a planned increase in toll charges on an important commuter and transport route.

The Humber Bridge Board is looking to up the charges on the 27-year-old bridge, sparking an angry reaction from politicians and readers alike.

Northcliffe titles the Hull Daily Mail, Scunthorpe Telegraph and Grimsby Telegraph are now galvanising readers against the plans which would see HGV drivers having to stump up £19.90 – an extra £1.60 – to cross the Humber River. The charge for cars would increase by 20p to £2.90.

Grimsby Telegraph editor Michelle Lalor said: “While we understand a complete scrapping of the tolls would have much wider implications for all concerned, surely it is time to make a stand and say no to more increases. “Tolls are already too high – making the very thing that was to unite North and South Humber, a barrier.”

The Government has called a public inquiry into the plans after receiving over 400 letters of objection while MPs are now lobbying Transport Minister Paul Clark to write off the Bridge’s £350m debt.

It is hoped this move would lead to the tolls being reduced in price or scrapped altogether.

An online petition is now being run on all three of the newspapers’ websites and has attracted over 7,000 signatures.

Michelle added she was delighted by the campaign’s first victory.

“This is fantastic news and the first real breakthrough in this very important campaign,” she said.

“With the resounding support of our readers, we have achieved what we set out to do, to have the proposed increase in the tolls debated in a public forum.

“There is, however, still much to do to ensure that the unfair and damaging tolls are brought to a level that will ensure the prosperity of the region.”

A study by consultants, commissioned by Hull and East Riding councils and two authorities on the south bank, revealed the region’s economy net a £1bn windfall if the tolls were scrapped.

The Humber Bridge, which connects North Lincolnshire with East Yorkshire, is the fifth-largest single span suspension bridge in the world and is used by approximately 120,000 vehicles per week.

The campaign is particular pertinent to people living on the south of the bridge because they have to travel across to visit the hospital.

One Scunthorpe reader wrote under a story: “As usual people on the South Bank lose out.

“I am shortly going to have to travel to the North Bank for medical treatment five times a week for seven-and-a-half weeks. In all this will cost me approximately £200 in bridge tolls without the fuel or parking costs to get me to Castle Hill Hospital.”


Keith Peat (20/11/2008 09:19:55)
Well done you trio.
Keith Peat

Terry Hudson (23/11/2008 18:07:28)
All road tolls in Scotland were scrapped earlier this year without any safety problems. The government have got away with increasing Dartford Crossing charges and this is just another step in its war on the driver, regardless of the detrimental effects on the environment by forcing drivers to sit in queues and the cost to industry in lost time which also effects the private motorist. While Gordon ‘Blair’ seeks publicty on tax cuts, he carries on putting the price of everything up!