No plans to scrap Tyne Tunnel tolls, bosses confirm after charges dropped on Severn Bridge

The Tyne Tunnel is unlikely to follow the example of the Severn Bridge in becoming free to use any time soon, transport bosses have said.

Friday, 21st December 2018, 10:15 am
Updated Friday, 21st December 2018, 10:23 am
The Tyne Tunnel

Tolls on the crossing between England and Wales were scrapped this month – it had previously cost £5.60 to head into the principality over the bridge, although it was free to leave.

The decision, which came into force on Monday December 17, prompted speculation charges could also be abolished on Tyneside.

But drivers will be disappointed after Paul Woods, the North East Combined Authority’s (NECA) chief finance officer, said it would be more difficult justify such a decision in the region.

He told a meeting of the NECA Overview and Scrutiny Committee: “The issue is who should pay.

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“Is it the users of the tunnel, or local council tax payers, or businesses, or the government?”

He added the move to scrap tolls on the Severn Bridge had been driven by a wider economic plan for South East Wales and South West England.

He said that, unlike the Severn, there were other options for crossing the Tyne which don’t involve charges, although they may include more traffic and congestion.

Tolls for the tunnel are due to increase by 10p for cars and 20p for heavy goods vehicles next year.

Mr Woods also spoke about proposals which could see the barriers removed from the tunnel, with drivers given the chance to pay later online.

He said: “Unlike in London, where you can inadvertently go in and out of the congestion charge zone, here it would be very clear when you were approaching the tunnel.”

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service