Johnny’s latest press coverage

Plymouth residents urged to sign petition to stop Tamar Bridge toll hike

March 5, 20240

In my first regular column piece for the Herald, I promised to fight ‘tooth and nail’ for Tamar Bridge commuters, MP Johnny Mercer writes. That fight is ongoing, and this month Sheryll and I have launched a petition to stop the toll hike.


In 2019 cash tolls were increased from £1.50 to £2, last year to £2.60, and now the Tamar Bridge and Torpoint Ferry Joint Committee are asking for a further increase to £3 – representing a 100 per cent rise in four years.


Tag users will also see an increase from £1.20 to £1.50. I cannot support another toll increase which forces people in Plymouth to bear the brunt of misguided financial decisions taken by the Joint Committee.


Last November, Sheryll Murray, Conservative MP for South East Cornwall, and I met with the Joint Committee to discuss the financing of the crossings. The bridge’s finances are in dire straits with the reserves expected to run out by 2025. Borrowing has spiralled from roughly £10 million in 2004 to £41 million today.


There have been some mitigating factors during this time – two national lockdowns, inflationary pressures and a persistent 10 per cent reduction in crossings – but this does not excuse questionable capital projects undertaken by the Joint Committee, most notably the construction of clearly unaffordable new offices. The task now is to put the bridge’s finances back on an even keel without causing undue harm to commuters.


On 11th February, Sheryll wrote with my full support to the Secretary of State for Transport Mark Harper against the planned toll increase for the Tamar Bridge. Our asks are that the Department approves an annual contribution towards bridge maintenance, that this be conditional on the tolls being frozen, and for it cover the cost of removing the toll booths to introduce electronic charging.


Unlike others, I won’t make outlandish promises that I can’t keep on this or on any other issue. Our asks offer a balanced, long-term solution to a persistent funding shortfall which duly considers local opinion. The petition which accompanies this continues to pick up traction with over 1,000 signatures and the support of local stakeholders such as the Tamar Toll Action Group.


With your help, we can send a clear mandate to the Transport Minister to not allow any increase. If you haven’t put your name to it yet, please sign here:


While the Tamar Bridge links Sheryll and my constituencies, it also links Devon with Cornwall and so any toll increase will be felt across both counties. The A38 which passes through the bridge is one of two key A roads passing through to Cornwall, the other being the A30. Therefore, for the wider benefit of our region, I urge all 18 Devon and Cornwall MPs to put their weight behind this petition.


My entire focus is on delivering for Plymouth. That is why any pledge I make will be backed up with concrete action. I will continue to fight your corner, working constructively with all interested parties to ensure that we get the tolls right for local people.


As ever, please get in touch via or 01752 876979. Surgeries can also be booked with me through these channels. Furthermore, if you would like to be notified about what I am doing here in Plymouth, including when I next write an op-ed for the Herald, please sign up to my mailing list here.

Luke Jones

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