Business body joins calls to scrap Forth Bridge tolls

A FRESH call for tolls on the Forth Road Bridge to be scrapped came today from an influential business body.

The Scottish Council for Development and Industry said the charges on the Forth and Tay bridges should be abolished immediately and consideration of a new Forth crossing should be taken forward without delay. The call came in the SCDI response to the Scottish Executive's consultation on a national transport strategy.

It also urged the further redevelopment of Edinburgh's Waverley Station; a high-speed rail link from Scotland to London and improvement of rail services from central Scotland to the north. SCDI policy analyst Tracy Walker said: "We believe that the support and promotion of economic growth should be the primary objective of transport policy. Connectivity is the key issue. This not only includes roads and public transport within Scotland, but links to the rest of the UK, to Europe and the rest of the world.

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"A balance must be struck which sees new projects delivered to ensure that Scotland has a modern transport system which is better than, or at least comparable with, our competitors, and ensuring that current infrastructure is upgraded to operate at its optimum.

"The number of years required to construct a new Forth crossing means that the consideration of different options, including a tunnel, should commence without delay. Before projects can be agreed there is a need for detailed evaluation."