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Alyn Smith MP Condemns Tyne Tunnel Tricks

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Categories: Constituency

Stirling Women Fined Hundreds of Pounds in Underhand Scandal

Stirling’s local MP Alyn Smith has spoken out against underhand toll fees, as a local Stirling woman was fined multiple times for driving through the Tyne Tunnel – completely unaware of a newly installed payment system which has local people outraged.

Operator TT2 removed toll gates and introduced ‘open road tolling’ in November 2021, as a means of reducing congestion and reducing travel times under the River Tyne, Newcastle. Number plate registration cameras instead capture vehicle details – giving drivers a limited time-window to pay their tolls.

Helen Law of Port Street Stirling visited Newcastle last May for work, and only discovered she’d run afoul of the new system when she opened a letter for a £80 non-payment fine on her return home. Ms Law called Tyneside Tunnels to explain how poorly advertised the charging system was for incoming tourists and those unfamiliar with the area, trying to appeal the fine – but this was refused, with the case instead sent to a debt collection agency.

Ms Law paid the fine, which had increased from £80 to £176.90 – only to discover there was another fine of £176.90 due, as she had entered the tunnel twice.

Mr Smith has raised this case with the Chief Executive of Tyne Tunnels, and is currently waiting for a response.

Stirling MP Alyn Smith said:

‘In a cost-of-living crisis, it is clearly outrageous for one of my constituents to be hounded for over £300 worth of fines from a scheme so unpopular, over 21,000 people have signed a petition for the system to be scrapped. We want to encourage business and tourism between Scotland and our neighbouring cousins in the North of England, and I expect Ms Law won’t be the first or last motorist to fall foul of this ill-thought-out toll system. I hope common sense prevails, and sensible changes are made to avoid this horrible situation in the future.’

Stirling resident Helen Law said:

‘I’m so disappointed this system was allowed to go-ahead in the first place, with little consideration given to incoming tourists or visitors who face hefty costs for a simple mistake. The scheme desperately needs to be reformed, with much clearer signage, more advertising and some common sense over the administration of fines. £300 is a lot of money, especially during a cost-of-living crisis. I look forward to seeing the response from Tyne Tunnels to MP Alyn Smith’s inquiry.’