Bridge chiefs in emergency talks after £1 freeze on tolls

AN emergency meeting has been called by Forth Road Bridge chiefs to discuss the impact of tolls being frozen at £1.

At the start of the month, the Scottish Executive kicked out the Forth Estuary Transport Authority's bid to introduce a road-user charging scheme, with tolls rising as high as 4 for solo motorists.

Faced with political opposition, ministers capped charges at 1 for the foreseeable future, leaving FETA unable to afford a multi-million-pound package of public transport improvements.

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Next Monday morning, a special board meeting will be held at Dunfermline's Business Learning Conference Centre to discuss the latest development.

The meeting is likely to be hotly debated, given the opposition to tolls from Fife councillors and the support for higher charges from their Edinburgh counterparts.

Members will also discuss the extension of the tolling period granted by the Executive, which means tolls can officially be levied until March 2010.

A spokesman for the National Alliance Against Tolls said: "By signing the order, ministers have clearly shown what they think of the views of local people, businesses and councils."