Drivers could face 'substantial' toll rises, campaigners warn

Clifton Suspension Bridge Toll operators such as Bristol's Clifton Suspension Bridge could be allowed to put up prices

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Allowing toll operators to increase charges by "any amount" could leave drivers exposed to "substantial" price rises, a campaign group has warned.

Firms operating toll crossings currently have to apply to the government to raise charges.

But a consultation suggests scrapping the process, with operators raising costs when they want to.

The government said it would "simplify the process", but the National Alliance Against Tolls has opposed the move.

Crossings which could be affected

  • Aldwark bridge, near Linton-On-Ouse, North Yorkshire
  • Bournemouth-Swanage motor-road ferry, Dorset
  • Clifton Suspension Bridge, Leigh Woods, Bristol
  • Dartmouth-Kingswear floating bridge, Dartmouth, Devon
  • Dunham bridge, Dunham-on-Trent, Lincolnshire
  • Rixton and Warburton bridge, Warburton, Cheshire
  • Shrewsbury (Kingsland) bridge, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
  • Swinford bridge, Swinford, Oxfordshire
  • Tamar bridge and Torpoint ferry, Saltash, Cornwall
  • Whitchurch bridge, Whitchurch-on-Thames, Oxfordshire/Berkshire
  • Whitney-on-Wye bridge, Herefordshire

Roads minister Robert Goodwill is consulting on two plans - one would allow unlimited price rises, while a second would see annual rises at 1% below the rate of inflation.

Mr Goodwill said the move would reduce the "administrative burden on operators and government" and ensure that "interests of users continue to be protected".

But the campaign group said the move would remove any protection drivers currently have.

The 11 crossings involved in the consultation include Bristol's Clifton Suspension Bridge, Dunham Bridge in Lincolnshire and the Torpoint ferry in Cornwall.

"The system at the moment is a monopoly as most people only use tolled crossings when they have no choice," said John McGoldrick, co-ordinator of the National Alliance Against Tolls.

"The government is planning to remove the limited protection from toll increases that drivers have."

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