Humber Bridge 11% toll increase approved

Humber Bridge
Image caption The Humber Bridge Board said the increase was needed to ensure money was available to pay its debt

The go-ahead has been given to increase the Humber Bridge toll by 30p.

The Humber Bridge Board had applied to the Department for Transport (DfT) to raise tolls by 11% from £2.70 to £3 per crossing to pay back its £330m debt.

Government approval was given after the planning inspectorate recommended the rise following a three-day public inquiry earlier this year.

The board said it would continue to press the government for a long-term solution to the debt issues.

The Humber Bridge Board said it welcomed the secretary of state's decision to approve the rise.

At the inquiry in March, the board said if the increase was not approved it would have a £2.2m shortfall on repayments this year.

Options for reform

The Dft said it would now be starting the second phase of the government's Humber Bridge review.

It said this would explore options for reform and consider the views of residents, businesses, local authorities, MPs and the Humber Bridge Board over the tolls.

It follows a report compiled by Hull City Council, North Lincolnshire Council, North East Lincolnshire Council and East Riding of Yorkshire Council which found that abolishing tolls would boost the region's economy by £1bn over 25 years.

Transport minister Norman Baker said: "The Humber Bridge Board applied to increase the tolls and it was the department's duty to consider that proposal.

"The independent inspector came down firmly in favour of the board's proposals and we did not fell it would be right to overrule that advice.

"However, by pushing ahead with the government's review I hope we will be able to help the region and bridge owners find a long-term sustainable way forward for this important transport link."

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