§ Sir J. Gilmour
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has reached a decision on the schedule of tolls submitted to him by the Forth Road Bridge Joint Board; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Noble
Yes. The schedule proposes that the toll should be 2s. 6d. per vehicle, subject to certain statutory and other exceptions in terms of which certain special classes of vehicles would pay no tolls. The period during which objections might be lodged elapsed on the 20th March; none has been received in such terms as to make an inquiry necessary.
The total cost of the bridge and other works authorised by the Forth Bridge Orders, 1947 to 1964, is now estimated to be about £19½ million, towards which my Department will have lent to the Joint Board over £14 million repayable in the normal course within 30 years.
The level of tolls required to meet the cost of maintenance and of debt charges, 172W including the repayment of the loan, cannot be determined until experience has been obtained of the actual volume of traffic using the bridge. I agree therefore that a toll of 2s. 6d. per vehicle should apply during the first year while experience is being gathered, and I have accordingly approved the proposed toll schedule without modification. The Joint Board has been so informed.