The General Secretary (GS) of the Celtic League has written to the company that maintains and upkeeps the Tamar Bridge to air his concerns about a toll increase this month.
The GS is following up on complaints made to the Kernow branch of the League from members and supporters about a 50% toll increase that took effect from Friday 19th March 2010. Among the complaints was a letter from a member who stated:
“The signs on the bridge are also racist and derogatory. Why doesn’t the signage on the east side say England instead of just ‘Plymouth’. Many Cornish people would prefer it this way.”
The GS also wrote to the Minister for Transport (UK) to ask if they have considered taking over the running of the Tamar Bridge and making it toll free. In Scotland bridge tolls were abolished by the Scottish Government in 2008.
Both letters are set out in full below.
Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee
2 Ferry Street
Torpoint PL11 2AX
Dear Mr Vallance
Toll increases and signs
Following the 50% increase in toll for the Tamar Bridge crossing on 19th March 2010, the Kernow branch of the League has been contacted by several of its members to complain about the matter. We are aware of your argument that tolls have not increased for some time and that all toll revenue stays within your public sector not for profit organisation. However, we would like to know under the Freedom of Information Act:
1. How many complaints have the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee received since the increases in toll were announced last year?
2. How many of the above complaints were from an address in Cornwall, of those complaints where an address was provided?
3. Is any member of staff (paid or otherwise) from Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee, in receipt of an annual bonus?
4. Has the Highways Agency approached the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee about taking control of the bridge?
In addition to this, we would like to know why there isn’t a sign on the England side of the bridge saying `Welcome to England’, like there is on the Cornwall side. Signs such as these exist over the Seven Bridge between Wales and England.
We look forward to hearing from you.
“Minister of State for Transport
Dear Minister Sadiq Khan
I am writing regarding an increase in the toll on the Tamar Bridge earlier this month, which saw a 50% increase.
A number of our members and supporters have written to our Kernow branch complaining about the increase that took effect on 19th March 2010. We understand the argument put forward by the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee about the high costs involved in maintaining the bridge and that they feel compelled to increase the tolls for the first time since 1997.
However, the main thrust of the complaints that we have received are that the tolls are unfair on the Cornish, because of the fact that Cornwall is economically poor compared to Plymouth and Devon. Also it has been pointed out that there was a booklet produced which stated that five years following the completion of the bridge tolls would be stopped. However, as you know this was not the case.
I am therefore writing to you to ask if it has been considered by the Department of Transport or the Highways Agency to take over control of the Tamar Bridge from the current company. The Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee has been in place since 1957 and we think that it is about time that the Highways Agency took control of a toll-free Tamar Bridge.
We look forward to hearing from you.”