Humber Bridge tolls to be reduced, according to MPs

Humber Bridge Image copyright PA
Image caption Tolls on the Humber Bridge recently increased to £3 each way for cars - making it the most expensive crossing in the UK

The prospect of lower toll charges on the Humber Bridge has moved a step closer, according to some MPs.

Conservative MPs Andrew Percy and Martin Vickers say the government is willing to write off a substantial part of the £330m debt, which is still outstanding on the Humber Bridge.

Transport Minister Norman Baker and Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Chloe Smith, have met MPs from both sides of the Humber to discuss the financial future of the bridge, which opened in 1981.

Tolls on the Humber Bridge recently increased from £2.70 to £3 each way for cars - making it the most expensive crossing in the UK.

The proposed debt reduction could reduce the toll charges by half to £1.50 each way for cars.

Economic development

A change in the way the bridge is managed is also due to be announced, with the Humber Bridge Board expected to be disbanded in its current form.

Business leaders argue that high toll charges act as a barrier to economic growth in the Humber region - an area with a higher than average rate of unemployment.

Over the past few months a review of the economic impact of the tolls has been carried out by officials at the Treasury.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "We are clear that the current finances of the Humber Bridge are unsustainable, for historic reasons, and we are looking at positive options to ensure that the future financing of the bridge is sustainable for both local communities and national government.

"We also attach importance to close engagement in the management of the bridge from local elected representatives and business people, working together.

"We expect to make a further statement on our conclusions in the near future."

An announcement on the future of the Humber Bridge is expected to be made in the Chancellor's Autumn Statement on November 29.