National Alliance Against Tolls - England

england   naat

(page fully revised May 2013)

There are 23 tolls in England and one between England and Wales. 18 of the 23 are river crossings, the other 5 are - the M6 Toll, 2 ancient toll roads, and the London and Durham "Congestion charge" zones.

  • Dartford Crossing
  • Durham "Congestion" Charge
  • Humber Bridge
  • Itchen Bridge
  • London "Congestion" Charge (on separate page)
  • M6 Toll (on separate page)
  • Mersey Tunnels
  • Severn Crossing (on separate page)
  • Tamar bridge
  • Tyne Tunnels
  • The older tolls (pre 1900, together with somethings that we don't count as tolled roads or crossings are grouped under these headings - Ancient bridge tolls regulated by Private Acts of Parliament
    Ancient road tolls granted by Royal Charters and not regulated
    Ancient and not so ancient bridge tolls that are not regulated
    Excluded from tolled crossings or roads

    Dartford Crossing

    dartfordThe Dartford Crossing is in fact 3 crossings (two 2 lane tunnels opened in 1963 and 1980 and a four lane bridge opened in 1991) which carry London's outer orbital motorway, the M25, across the Thames.
    The original cost of the crossings was recovered by around 2002 and the tolls would have had to stop soon after. Formally the tolls ended on the 31 March 2003, but they were immediately replaced by 'road user charges' using general powers in the Transport Act 2000. The toll for cars had been one pound for a long time, but the Government increased them to 1.50 from 16 November 2008 and to two pounds from 7 October 2012.

    They increased the car toll to two pounds 50 from 30 November 2014 when the tolls went 'cashless'. The Government as usual misled the news media and drivers by saying that if you got one of the new Dart accounts you would be saving one third. The truth is that for those car drivers who already had a 'Dart Tag' the toll went up from 1.33 to 1.67, i.e. a 25 per cent increase (the same as the increase in the cash toll). If before you paid cash and now pay in advance with a Dart account then there is a reduction from 2.00 to 1.67, i.e. 16.5 per cent reduction.

    A few days before the latest increase we sent out a press release which most of the news media ignored, but we were mentioned on Kent Online - "Toll barriers end at Dartford Crossing as Dart Charge introduced" There are higher tolls for trucks but there are no tolls for any vehicles at night between 22.00 and 06.00. Tagged car drivers get a discount of about one third (vans and lorries get a discount of about 15%). There is a special reduction of over 90% for local car drivers.

    There are about 54 million crossings a year (the Government say that there are 'up to 170,000 crossings a day, but we think that the average over 365 days is a lot less) and the tolls will generate income of about 100 million. After deducting charges from the private French company, "Le Crossing", the Government's net share of the extortion will be about 80 million a year.

    Governments claim that they have kept the tolls to control the traffic. The truth is that the tolls delay traffic, add to vehicle emissions and increase the risk of accidents. To the extent that they influence traffic, it will be to take the long way round the orbital motorway, adding more to congestion and vehicle emissions. The introduction of 'cashless' tolls will reduce the delays but it would have been better and fairer to remove the tolls.

    This is part of an article that Brian Macdowall of the Alliance of British Drivers wrote for the Dartford Times in November 2006 -
    "Are you one of an estimated 40 million drivers? - That's just about every adult in the U.K.
    As blood and oxygen moves seamlessly via arteries in a healthy body so road journeys should be comparatively easy along our road network. The reality is very different.
    Dartford has probably the worst deliberately designed bottleneck in the UK caused by extracting toll charges in order to cross the Thames.
    What do you get for paying tolls? - Daily and lengthy jams, increased pollution levels, huge economic cost in missed appointments, wasted fuel, late deliveries, and excessive wear and tear on brakes and clutches.
    Kent MP Steve Ladyman, the Roads Minister, insists the tolls are necessary for safety reasons in order that the passage of traffic can be safely metered. In case of what one asks. Is all that traffic sitting on the bridge unsafe? If that's true we better find another way of crossing the river!
    Local MPs from all parties have at various time campaigned to have the tolls removed, but when in power they tend to be struck dumb. An exception was that when Labour was in power the local MPs managed to get the tolls reduced for "locals" from November 2008 - they get a tag for ten pounds which gives them 50 'free' journies and from then on pay 20 pence a journey.

    There have been various phoney consultations from this and the previous Government - Our response to the Dartford toll consultation in 2007 (pdf)   The 2011 consultation that we did not bother with   The 2012/2013 consultation that we did not bother with   Yet another consultation, this one into building another tolled crossing.

    The Toll vultures that control the Government have had a three part stategy-
  • Increase tolls on the Crossing as high as they can.
  • Introduce 'free flow charging' to possibly reduce the queues and increase the number of drivers that they have 'tagged'.
  • Build another crossing though they could achieve the same effect by removing the tolls. Local people don't want another crossing, the only wants who want it are the Government's cronies - bankers, contractors and toll operators.
  • Links:- Highways Agency - The Dartford - Thurrock River Crossing   DfT - "Dartford Crossing Road User Charges"   DfT - "Dartford Crossing charges, exemptions and penalties"   Wikipedia page   Sabre entry   Geograph - select from over 1,100 images   Geograph - queues   Geograph more queues.

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    Durham "Congestion" Charge

    This was Britain's first area toll, and possibly the first outside of Norway and Singapore. It is unusual in that it covers a small area (Saddler Street and Market Place) that includes the Cathedral and the castle and is at the end of a peninsula almost completely surrounded by the River Wear. Its effect is similar to a car parking charge as it is not likely that anyone would enter the area unless they planned to visit one of the buildings on the peninsula.

    The charge was introduced on 2nd October 2002 and has remained at 2 and covers just one street! There are about 100,000 vehicles entering it each year, generating about 200,000 income.

    The scheme will have discouraged some cars from entering this area, but its overall impact on congestion in Durham city will have been very low and possibly negative. As Governments want to encourage the lie that such schemes have a positive effct, in December 2005 a park and ride scheme was introduced in Durham. All of the 9 million cost was met by the Government.
    Links:- Durham County Council   DCC monitoring report from 2003 (pdf)   Wikipedia page.

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    Humber Bridge

    humber The Humber Bridge links the A15 on the south side to the A164 and Hull. It opened in 1981, and was till 1998 the longest single span suspension bridge (as at April 2013 it is number 7). It was also Britain's joint (with the Severn) most expensive river to cross, till tolls were reduced from April 2012. The car toll is now 1.50 (as at Sep 2014)
    It needed three Acts before the bridge could be built - the Humber Bridge Acts of 1959, 1971 and 1973. There was also an Act in 1996 to try and deal with the problem of the debt mountain.

    The bridge carried about 6.44 million vehicles a year prior to the April 2012 tolls reduction, this increased to 6.95 million for the year from April 2012. Before the toll reduction, the income was about 22 million, for April 2012 to March 2013 it was 13.1 million.

    The decision to build a bridge was a political one and does not seem to have been based on economic grounds. And if it were to be built then it was crazy to try and finance it from tolls as it could never pay its way and the economic benefits would be reduced. But this of course had no effect on the Trolls and all they did with the inevitable losses was to build up a bigger debt mountain by capitalising the losses. Outside the world of tolls, capitalisation of losses would not be allowed, but the Trolls don't care. Eventually something had to give and the Government took some measures to stop the debt spiral. They wrote off some of the existing debt, made some of the remaining debt interest free (for a period) and reduced the interest rates (though they were still high). Despite all these moves, the current users are to some extent paying off debts that the Government should have written off 20 years or more ago.

    The debt relief has been applied several times. The debt spiralled out of control and reached nearly 500 million in 1992.

    The spiral was then stopped by a method which is not absolutely clear, but seems to have had the effect that the interest payments that had to be made to the Government each year were limited to what the Board could afford without having to borrow even more money to pay the interest.

    The amount of interest that was foregone by the Government between about 1992 and about 1998 was about 258 million. Without this capping of the interest, the debt would have reached over 800 million by 1998.

    Parliament passed the Humber Bridge (Debts) Act 1996 which provided that any sum (including interest) which was owed by the Board to the Government could be written off by Order. Though the Act was passed in 1996 it seems that there were protracted negotiations, because the first Order was not made till 1st July 1998, though it seems to have been backdated to 1st April 1998.

    Under the 1998 Order, the 62 million of debts still owed by the Bridge Board to the Public Works Loan Board were completely written off.

    The remaining debt was 359 million owed to the Department for Transport. Of this 240 million was to be initially interest free, with interest payable at a rate of 7.75% on the then remaining loan of some 159 million.

    That means that initially the Board would have been liable for annual interest payments of just over 9.2 million.

    In June 2007 a new Order under the 1996 Act was made; it was backdated all the way to 1st April 2006. Under the new Order, there was a complex arrangement which would have the effect as if interest was payable on all the debt at a rate of 4.25%. The debt of the Board at that time was just over 334 Million, so the interest payable would have been 14.2 million, or 5 million more than the previous deal. This seems to be a bizarre result, but the deal was not quite as bad as it seemed because 1998 Order had included an escalator clause which each year increased the amount of debt that interest was payable on. It appears that the effect of the deal (whether by coincidence or by design) was to in effect freeze future interest payments at about the level they had reached in 2005/06. Because of the escalator clause, the interest by 2005/06 had increased from the initial level agreed in 1998 of 9.2 million to 14.1 million. The interest would have gone on rising, but the 2007 Order stopped this with effect from 1 April 2006.
    The 2007 deal only covered the five years 2006/07 to 2010/11 and so there would have to be further negotiations and a new Order with effect from 1st April 2011.

    In July 2011, the DfT announced that there was a new Order to cover the five years 2011/12 to 2015/16. Under the 1998 Act, it seems that there was still a large amount of debt that was interest free and which as per the Order was gradually coming into force. The effect of the new Order was as if for each year there was no suspended debt and that interest was instead payable on all the debt each year at the rate of 4.25%. We have not found the Order but here is the Minister's statement in July 2011. It says that the debt at April 2011 was 332 million.

    Though the above Order should have covered a period of five years less than a year later (5th March 2012) there was another Order - Humber Bridge Debts Order 2012. At the stroke of a pen 150 million of the paper debt to the Government had been erased. The press reports in Feburay said that this had been part of a deal with the four Councils that run the Bridge Board whereby they would each take one quarter of the remaining debt. But there is nothing in the Order which confirms this.
    Because of continuing opposition to the tolls the Humber Forum commissioned a study which was published in March 2004 - Tolls Impact study (large pdf). The Forum no longer exists, but was composed of people (company bosses and local authority people) that tend to support tolls. The study backed keeping (and even increasing the tolls).

    The recent history of toll changes has been unusual, very unusual -
  • In February 2006 there was a Public Inquiry into a proposed increase. The only official objectors at the Inquiry were a few bus companies and one individual - Max Withrington, a local accountant.
    We complained to the DfT that the information on the toll authority's website was misleading, as it had given no indication that a formal application for an increase had been made and that people could object. This was particularly frustrating as toll authorities usually say something like "the increase must be OK, for almost no one has objected". We asked that our complaint be passed on to the Inspector, but he seems to have ignored it.
    To a large extent all of these Toll Increase Inquiries have no effect, almost no one knows in time that they can object, and the Government Minister invariably sides with the owners of the crossing and against users.
    The car tolls increased on 24th April 2006 from 2.50 to 2.70.
    Inspector's report   Minister's decision letter.

  • In March 2009 there was another Inquiry into a further increase. This time there were more objections, mainly due to the efforts of a local group of campaigners 'Humber Action Against Tolls' led by Jenny Walton. There were also representations from the Councils and from local businesses. This was our objection. From information that became available at the inquiry which we later investigated, it was clear that the Bridge Board had been building up reserves and had 13 million pounds invested according to their last accounts. It seemed obvious that there was no need for an increase, at least at that time, but as usual the Inspector recommended that the increase be approved. What was most unusual was that the Minister said 'No'.
    Inspector's report   Minister's decision letter.

  • In March 2011 there was another Inquiry, as the Bridge Board apparently still needed their pound of flesh. As with the previous Inquiry, though the long term future was uncertain, there did not appear to ne any immediate need for a toll increase and the Board still had very large reserves - now grown to 20 million. As with 2009, the NAAT attended for part of the Inquiry but this time we were not allowed to ask questions of the Board's representatives who were present. The opposition to the Board was as stong as it could be as apart from users, there was a very strong case put up by the local authorities and various local MPs spoke against the increase. Despite all that it followed the usual script - the Inspector supported the bridge owners, and the Minister eagerly agreed.
    The timing of the Inquiry was most odd as we pointed out in our submission the debt agreement with the Government was due to run out at the end of that month. It was mad to have the Inquiry before the result of that negotiation was known.
    One thing that we realised at the Inquiry is that the Board might have been ignoring the stautory limit on the size of their Maintenance Fund, so we asked the DfT about this. We might as well not have bothered, it eventually emerged that the Board's fund was above the limit, but the Minister waved his magic wand and the fund limit was increased. Our submission to the Inquiry   Inspector's report   Minister's decision letter.

  • It then emerged that all of this seemed to be some bizarre game being played between the Board and the Government. The decision of the Minister to increase the tolls was made in June 2011 (the date within June was omitted from the letter). Hardly had the ink dried on the Minister's rubber stamping of the toll increase, than the Minister announced in Parliament in July Minister's statement. And then it was announced in February 2012 that 150 million of the debt was being written off to enable tolls to be halved!   March 2012 Debt Order.
  • Even at the reduced rate, the tolls particularly hit people from the south of the river who have to visit hospitals in Hull. There was a longstanding "Axe The Toll On Health" campaign. Despite the reduction in tolls from April 2012 there is still a lot of resentment that people have to pay tolls, particularly those who require mutiple trios for things like cancer treatment.

    The authority that controls the bridge is currently trying to get new powers through Parliament. Some of the changes seem to be insignificant but they are also seeking power to increase tolls without going though the bother of an Inquiry, and a power to spend the tolls on things other than the bridge. It is obvious what will happen, and the MPs have either been duped into agreeing to this or think that milking drivers to pay for non bridge schemes is a good idea - The Bill on the Parliament website.

    Links:- Official site   Wikipedia page   Sabre entry   Geograph - select from over 17,000 images.

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    Itchen Bridge

    itchenThe Itchen bridge opened in 1977 and carries the otherwise toll free A3025 across the river in Southampton.
    The bridge was built under powers in the Southampton Corporation Act 1973, but we have not been able to discover what the Act said.

    Since 2003, the toll is 60 pence each way for cars and light vans (outside the peak hours of 07.00 to 09.30 and 16.00 to 18.30 Monday to Friday, the toll is 50 pence). There is a higher tolls for bigger vans of 1.20, and the toll for any vehicle with 3 or more axles is 25 (presumably designed to discourage big vehicles). Motorcycles are charged 20 pence, pedestrians, cyclists and 'animals' can cross for free.
    Drivers of cars or light vans who are residents of Southampton and other 'locals' can get books of ten tickets at the discounted price of 40 pence per crossing in the peak and 30 pence in the off peak.
    Drivers of heavier vehicles who are 'local' get a bigger discount - the 1.20 rate is reduced to 60 pence, and the 25 rate is reduced to 2 (so presumably they only want to discourage heavy vehicles that are not local!).
    There are no tolls on Xmas Day or Boxing Day.

    There are about 7 million crossings a year generating income of about 5 million. The income each year is equal to the amount that was borrowed to pay for the bridge.
    Link:- Official site   Wikipedia

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    Mersey Tunnels

    wallaseyThere are three tunnels joining Liverpool to the Wirral peninsula. A four lane tunnel to Birkenhead and A41 was opened in 1934, and a pair of two lane tunnels to Wallasey and M53 were opened in 1971 and 1974.
    The toll is 1.60 each way for cars, with higher tolls for trucks. There are about 26 million crossings a year generating income of 35 million.
    The Tunnels should by now have been toll free, but are run at a profit by the local transport authority. They are the only tolled crossing in the middle of a conurbation.
    Link:- There is a lot more information about the Tunnels and the campaign against the tolls here:- Mersey Tunnels Users Association

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    Tamar Bridge

    tamarThe Tamar bridge opened in 1961 and carries the otherwise toll free A38 across the river from Devon (Plymouth) into Cornwall. The bridge was widened in 2001 and there is an associated tunnel at Saltash.
    The bridge was built using the Tamar Bridge Act 1957. There have been two further Acts - 1979 and 1998.

    The tolls is only payable in the east bound direction (Cornwall to Devon). Following a Pubic Inquiry in 2010 the toll for cars was increased from one pound to 1.50. Commercial vehcles over 3.5 tonnes pay according to the number of axles - 2 axles the toll is 3.70, 3 axles it is 6, and more than 3 axles it is 8.20. There is a discount of 50% for vehicles which are tagged.
    Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are not charged.

    There are about 7.5 million crossings a year generating income of about 6 million.
    An unusual feature is that the tolls are used to subsidise a ferry which runs from Torpoint to Devonport - 24 hours a day, and carrying pedestrians and cyclists for free.
    Link:- Official site   Wikipedia

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    Tyne Tunnels

    tyneThis is a pair of two lane tunnels to the east of Newcastle, linking North Shields to Jarrow
    The first tunnel was built by the Tyne Tunnels Joint Committee (composed of councillors from Durham County and Northumberland County) and opened in 1967 using powers in 3 Acts - the Tyne Tunnel Acts of 1946, 1956 and 1960. Shortly after the first tunnel opened there was another Act - The Durham County Council Act 1968 - which affected the Tunnel, but we don't know how. When metroplitan counties were formed in 1974, the ownership passed to the new Tyne & Wear Metropolitan County. There was then another Act affecting the Tunnel - Tyne and Wear Act 1976 - again we don't know how
    When the Tory Government got rid of all the metropolitan county councils, they handed the Tunnel over to the Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Authoritv - this was a bit like getting a drink prohibitionist to run a public house!

    Because of congestion (though that could possibly have been solved by removing the tolls), the PTA decided that they would have a second tunnel built. Because the Government had passed various general Axcts to help authorities to rob drivers, the authorities were able to go ahead with their plans without the nuisance of getting MPs to agree. There was a Public Inquiry in 2003 into the plan, which involved getting a private company to build a second tunnel and take over the first. A novel feature was that tolls were to be inceased even before the second tunnel was built.
    A local ex Tory councillor, Stan Smith, was one of the few objectors. He then formed 'North East Against Tolls' which became part of the National Alliance. Needless to say the authorities got their way, with final approval coming in 2005 in the shape of the River Tyne (Tunnels) Order 2005. Though there was then a legal challenge from a resident (and Friends of the Earth member) concerned about the effect of the work, the High Court ruled against him in May 2006 and in August refused him leave to appeal. While this was going on the authorities had been proceeding with picking who the private company would be and the deal was signed in April 2007.
    In early 2008 the existing Tunnel was handed over to the company and in late 2008 work started on the second tunnel which opened at the end of February 2011, at lesat that is when it was opened for th eplebs, as the Quenn fdid not officially open it till she ventured into Geordie Land in July 2012.

    Before the authorities set about their plan for another tunnel, the car toll had been one pound - Toll Order 2001(pdf). To provide the initial finance for the scheme (including the millions for lawyers and advisers) the rules were changed to remove the right of the public to object to the Government about proposed toll increases up to a maximum increase in car tolls of 80 pence - Tyne Tunnels Order 2005 (pdf). There have been a series of increases, the first was to 1.10 in January 2007 and the most recent was the car toll going to 1.60 from 1st January 2013 - Toll Order 2012 (pdf).
    Commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes and buses pay 2.50. Motorcyclists go free.
    Drivers who are tagged get a discount of 10 per cent.
    An unusual feature of the Tunnels is that there are two other tunnels - one for pedestrians and one just for cyclists which are being refurbished at a cost of around 10 million. As you might expect all the costs of buildind and operating these tunnels for cyclists and pedestrians are borne by drivers.

    As the Tunnel is privately run and the Tyne and Wear ITA make little information public we don't know what the traffic is but estimate that there are about 15 million vehicle crossings a year generating income of 20 to 25 million.
    Link:- Tyne Tunnels Company   Wikipedia

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    Ancient bridge tolls regulated by Private Acts of Parliament

    For this purpose "ancient" is over 100 years old. Britain used to have thousands of "turnpikes" and privately owned bridges. The tolls were hated, and caused riots in various parts of the country. Nearly all tolls had disappeared by 1918, as the authorities realised that people, goods and vehicles could move around more easily without the tolls. Under section 271 of the Highways Act 1980 there is power for the local authorities to compulsorily buy out any tolled road or crossing. Despite those and earlier powers, some tolls remain, of which the main group are these eight ancient toll bridges that are governed by Act of Parliament:-

  • Aldwark Bridge
  • Clifton Suspension Bridge (on a separate page)
  • Dunham Bridge
  • Kingsland Bridge
  • Swinford Bridge
  • (Rixton &) Warburton Bridge
  • Whitchurch on Thames Bridge
  • Whitney on Wye Bridge

  • Aldwark Bridge
  • aldwarkbridgeThis privately owned bridge comes under the Aldwark Bridge Act 1772 and opened in 1770s. It carries Boat Lane across the river Ure near Aldwark, which is ten miles north west of York.
    The toll is 40 pence each way for cars, and one pound for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes (there is a weight limit on the bridge so in theory it is limited to vehicles of less than 7.5 tonnes). There are about 0.7 million crossings a year generating income of about 0.4 million. The bridge is run by a private company. It is a small narrow bridge on iron pillars over a narrow river. It is possibly the most expensive crossing in Britain - the toll works out at about 10 a mile.
    In April 2005, there was an Inquiry into a proposed toll increase. The increases were said to be needed to stem financial losses by the bridge company. There were over twenty objections including the local parish council - Linton on Ouse. The council said that private ownership of roads was archaic, and that tolls hit people who had to cross the bridge for education, leisure, work and business. The council and other objectors asked that the bridge be taken over by central or local government. Drivers who use the Aldwark bridge have little choice as there would otherwise be a detour of up to 25 miles. At the end of July 2005, the Minister approved the increases, with the toll for cars shooting up from 15 pence to 40 pence in August. Inspector's Report   Minister's Decision.
    Links:- Sabre entry   Geograph   There is no official site for the toll bridge.

  • Dunham Bridge
  • Privately owned, it carries the A57 over the River Trent 10 miles west of Lincoln. The enabling Act was the Dunham Bridge Act 1830 and it opened in the 1830s. The Dunham Bridge Company managed to get another Act through Parliament in 1994 to make it easier to increase tolls.

    The toll for cars, vans and minibuses was increased from 25 pence to 30 pence from 1 March 2007. Following the Government stopping refunds of VAT there was another increase to 36 pence from 1 April 2012, we objected but the Government ruled that (a) we could not object as we were not an individual (based on some rule that they had managed to dig up) and (b) the tolls were not increasing (they had decided that though the charge was going up, the toll had not).

    That increase was so easy that the Company were soon back asking for more and the Government nodded through another toll increase a year later (the minimum time between toll increases) Toll Order 2013 (pdf). Nominally the toll for a car or small van is now 34 pence, but as the Government are allowing VAT to be added the actual charge is 40 pence for a car. Larger vans and lorries with 4 wheels pay 50 pence plus VAT, and with 6 wheels or more pay 84 pence plus VAT. Motorcycles are not charged.
    Links:- Official site   Wikipedia   Sabre entry   Geograph   Geograph 'Queue for the toll'   Geograph - Flood!!.

  • Kingsland Bridge
  • The bridge was built under the Shrewsbury (Kingsland) Bridge Acts of 1873 and 1880, and is operated by Shrewsbury (Kingsland) Bridge Company.
    It carries a minor street over one loop of the Severn near the centre of Shrewsbury. The enabling Acts were in 1873 and 1880.
    There is a toll of one pence for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, but it seems that they don't bother to tray and collect it.
    The toll for motor vehicles was doubled to 20 pence from 1 February 2011 but did not come into effect till 7 March 2011. We knew nothing about the planned increase and apparently no one else did, so the Minister was able to rubberstamp this increase without going through the usual theatre of a Public Inquiry. The Government are apparently so keen to milk drivers that they even gave the owners of the bridge permission to raise the charges more than the owners had asked for - Decision letter   Toll Order.
    Links:- Wikipedia   Geograph   There is no official site for the toll bridge.

  • Swinford Bridge
  • This privately owned bridge was built under the Swinford Bridge Act of 1767 and opened in the 1770s. The Acts apparently say that there is no tax on the profits from the tolls, and the bridge changed hands for just over one million pounds in 2009. Someone made a request in 2012 to the DfT for a copy of the Act, they were given 7 pages - 1767 Act (large file). The DfT said that this was all they could find after "a full search", presumably the mice had got the other 55 pages!! The same perosn also asked Oxfordsgire County Council whether they had a copy of the Act. They refused to say and only referred the enquirer to a copy in the House of Lords library which is only available to visitors.
    It carries the B4044 over the River Thames near Eynsham, 4 miles west of Oxford and near David Cameron's constituency - at one time he appeared to oppose the tolls, but in reality he wants to see tolls on as many roads as possible.

    The tolls were last increased on 27 November 1994 and the toll for cars or commercial vehicles with only 2 axles is 5 pence. Vehicles with more than 2 axles pay 10 pence per axle.
    Single deck buses pay 12 pence and double deckers 20 pence. Motorcyclists pay (or not) two pence. In recent years there has been no charge for cyclists and pedestrians have not paid since 1835!
    Links:- Journal of Jane Tomlinson campaigner against the tolls   Wikipedia   Eynsham Community   Sabre entry   Geograph   Geograph - Queue   There is no official site for the toll bridge.

  • (Rixton &) Warburton Bridge
  • Carries the B5159 over the Manchester Ship canal 4 miles west of Altrincham - 12 pence toll for cars.
    The bridge was built under the Rixton and Warbuton Acts 1863 and 1867 and crossed the Mersey. When the Manchester Ship Canal was built the river was no longer there and the toll was in effect to cross the canal, but as that would apparently be illegal, local legend has it that the toll is for crossing the dry river bed - Sabre forum. The canal and bridge are now part of the Peel Group, which is owned by an Isle of Man billionaire and the Saudis.
    Links:- Wikipedia   Sabre entry   Geograph - (as most of the pictures show the bridge over the canal rather than the old river bed, here is a picture of the queues   There is no official site for the toll bridge.

  • Whitchurch on Thames Bridge
  • The bridge carries the B471 over the River Thames 4 miles north west of Reading.
    It was built under the Whitchurch Bridge Acts of 1792. The "Company of Proprietors of Whitchurch Bridge" managed to get another Act through Parliament in 1988 to make it easier to increase tolls.
    Following a Public Inquiry, the first increase was nodded through by the Minister and the car toll of 6 pence went up to 10 pence from about July 1992. In April 2005 The Minister again nodded his head and the car toll went from 10 pence to 20 pence.
    In 2009, following a Public Inquiry the Minister rubberstamped a doubling of the car toll to 40 pence from 19 October 2009.
    The toll for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes is 3.
    There are discounts available for vehicles of less that 3.5 tonnes - (a) Bridge cards are available which, excluding an initial deposit, give 50 crossings for 10, i.e. 20 pence a crossing; (b) there is also a frequent user scheme which gives an unlimited number of crossings for 18 a month.
    Links:- Stop The Whitchurch Bridge Toll   Official site   Wikipedia   Sabre entry   Geograph   Geograph - Old toll rates.

  • Whitney on Wye Bridge
  • The bridge carries what is now the B4350 over the Wye 15 miles west of Hereford. It was built under the Whitney-on-Wye Bridge Acts of 1780 and 1797, and opened in the early 1800s. The Acts apparently say that there is no tax on the profits from the tolls, and the bridge changed hands for about 400,000 pounds in 2012. Oddly there is a notice on the bridge which says that "local charities benefit from surplus funds".

    In 2007 there appeared to be an attempt to increase the tolls without going through the required procedures. We complained and nothing happened, but somehow the Minister eventually approved a toll increase of 60% with cars going from 50 pence to 80 pence from 30 October 2009.
    Goods vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes (an unusually high limit) also pay 80 pence. Goods vehicles over 7.5 tonnes and empty buses pay 1.40. If the bus has a passenger then the toll is 1.80. Motorcyclists pay 20 pence, and unusually the kings of the road - pedal cyclists - also have to pay - 10 pence. Pedestrians go free.
    Links:- Sabre entry   Geograph   There is no official site for the toll bridge.

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    Ancient road tolls granted by Royal Charters and not regulated

    We are only aware of two that still exist -

    Roydon Road, Stanstead Abbots

    Its charter goes back to 1443 at the start of King Henry VI's first stint and long before he was murdered in the Tower for reasons probably unconnected with tolls. It seems that the person who had the right to demand tolls was the lord of Rye Manor. The present holders of this Royal gift are apparently "the owners of the Netherfield estate".
    Despite its royal connections the road almost seems to go through a sewage works. The toll for cars is rumoured to be 50 pence.

    College Road, Dulwich

    The whole Dulwich area was grabbed by Henry VIII around 1538 (we don't know if he killed the previous owners or just evicted them). Henry sold the area on and it eventually came into the hands of an actor and 'entrepeneur' who in 1619 was given 'letter of patent' to establish "The College of God's Gift at Dulwich". The King who granted this was James VI of Scotland who had become James I of England in succession to Queen Elizabeth who had had his mother killed. The present toll only goes back to 1789, but it seems that it stems from the 1538 charter.
    The owners who have the right to stop drivers going down what otherwise be like any other road in the London suburbs are now known as the "Dulwich Estate" and in our wonderful land are registered as a Charity.
    At one time it seems that the toll had lapsed, but the Charity then started charging 20 pence which went to 50 pence and as at April 2013 is one pound for a car.
    Geograph  : Toll sign on Geograph  : Official site.

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    Ancient and not so ancient bridge tolls that are not regulated

    There are a few unregulated private toll roads or bridges where there appears to be neither an Act of Parliament nor a Royal Charter. It is not clear by what authority these tolls are collected or what if anything limits the amount that is demanded. The ones that we know of are:-

    a) Bathampton (Batheaston) bridge is a narrow (one way traffic) masonry arch bridge over the Avon near Bath. There are various suggestion as to when it was built but most say about 1870. The toll for a car is 50 pence.
    Sabre entry   Geograph.

    b) Cartford bridge is a fairly narrow bridge supported on two stone columns from around 1800s though the steel bridge itself seems to be from around 1900. It is situated where Cartford Lane crosses over the Wyre near to Little Eccleston in the Fylde. The toll for a car is 40 pence.

    c) Darley Abbey bridge over the Derwent at Haslam's Lane near Derby. It is another narrow bridge supported on what seems to be cast iron columns and seems to date from around 1800. This bridge was free for about 20 years, but it belongs to an old nearby "mill", when an engineering company bought the mill and mill yard they started charging a toll of one pound for cars from 2010. Geograph   BBC story from 6 Sep 2010.

    c) Eling Tide Mill dam crosses 'Eling Creek' which flows into the River Test near Totton Hampshire. It is the only tolled crossing that we know of which is a dam; presumably its main purpose was so that water could be diverted into the Mill (which is still working). The toll - one pound each way - was collected by New Forest District Council, but from January 2008 the Totton and Ealing Town Council took over both the mill and the bridge. It is not clear if locals have to pay the toll. Geograph   Information on the Mill amd bridge from the Wayback Machine.

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    Excluded from tolled crossings or roads

    a)The Channel Tunnel, either of two factors would exclude it - i) it is international and ii) vehicles are carried by train.

    b) All ferries, because vehicles are carried rather than using their own power.

    c) The Middlesbrough Transporter and Newport Transporter "bridges", for two reasons - i) the vehicles are carried across on a platform slung under the bridge gantry, so their effect is like that of a ferry, and ii) they are operated more as tourist attractions than as road links.

    middlesborough The Middlesbrough or Tees Transporter bridge opened in 1911 and goes from the A178 on the north bank of the river Tees across into Middlesbrough. The toll is a multiple (usually 2 or 3) of 1.30 for cars depending on the length. There are only about 100 thousand crossings a year generating income of about 0.1 million. The bridge is owned by Middlesbrough Council and Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council with Middlesbrough Council responsible for the day-to-day running.
    Middlesborough Council bridge page   Wikipedia page.

    newport The Newport Transporter bridge opened in 1906 and is nominally part of the B4237 across the river Usk in Newport. The toll is one pound each way for cars. There are only about 100 thousand crossings a year generating income of about 0.2 million. The bridge is run by Newport Borough Council.
    Newport Council bridge page (click on 'Visit' for further info   Wikipedia page.

    d) Porlock "scenic" toll road, Devon. This does actually link into the road system at either end, but is more like a tourist attraction. Official site.

    e) Kynance Cove toll road, Cornwall. This was built by the National Trust, but as it only leads (over two miles) to a car park, it is in effect a car parking charge and the NT regard it as such.

    f) Kewstoke Woods toll road, Weston-super-Mare. This toll was collected on behalf of North Somerset Council but collection was suspended in 2005 as it cost too much to collect, in January 2007 it was reaffirmed by the Council that the toll would not be collected and that the council would continue to maintain this "private" road. There is still no toll as at April 2013, but we have left it here in case it comes back!!

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