HC Deb 14 March 1962 vol 655 cc1304-5
23. Mr. Woodburn

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects to receive from the Forth Road Bridge Joint Board the proposed schedule of toll charges; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Maclay

In terms of the Forth Road Bridge Order, 1958, the Joint Board is required to submit its proposed schedule of toll charges to me not more than twelve months nor less than six months before the probable date of opening of the bridge. At the same time the proposed charges will be advertised publicly so as to give all interested parties an opportunity to study them and to submit representations if they wish.

Mr. Woodburn

While agreeing with the Secretary of State that this is "in the bond" and that these agreements are the agreements, may I ask whether he is satisfied that we shall not have hundreds of cars cluttering the entrance to the bridge at both ends in the summer because of the complications of taking these tolls? Would it not be wise at this stage to have a conference of all the bodies concerned, including the Government, to see whether some more sensible method can be devised to meet the cost of building the bridge so that traffic can flow freely and we shall not have this stagnation and this cumbersome hold-up?

Mr. Maclay

I do not think that the hon. Member need fear a serious holdup of the type which he describes. Like me, he must have travelled over many toll bridges, and I do not remember anything more than a marginal hold-up.

Dr. A. Thompson

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the high level of tolls on this bridge will divert industrial traffic at a time when we need to attract industry into Fife, particularly in view of the closing of the Rothes colliery? Is he also aware that the high level of tolls on passenger traffic will rob Fife of the chance of becoming a commuter area for Edinburgh?

Mr. Maclay

The hon. Member is assuming figures when none of us has any idea what they will be.