Consultation underway on exemption change

A consultation is underway on a proposed change to the Blue Badge disabled person exemption at the Tyne Tunnels, ahead of the introduction of the Tyne Pass free-flow system later this year.

A change to the Blue Badge exemption is required as the Tyne Pass scheme will see all toll barriers replaced with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR). As a result, badge holders will no longer be able to show their badge in person at a barrier to gain access.

There are currently two types of toll exemption for disabled people using the Tyne Tunnels, firstly vehicles registered with the DVLA for a disabled person’s exemption from road tax and secondly vehicles carrying a Blue Badge holder. Options being considered at this stage include the removal of the Blue Badge exemption or a requirement for badge holders to register a vehicle with TT2 so that the ANPR system recognises the exemption. There is no planned change to the existing DVLA disabled person’s exemption.

Tyne Pass is expected to significantly lower carbon emissions and account for a reduction of up to 92% from the current level of CO2 emitted by vehicles using the Tyne Tunnels. The process of accelerating away from the barrier area currently accounts for 96% of emissions from a Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) and 85% of emissions from a car. Users will also benefit from journey time savings and around 80 new jobs will be created by the new scheme.

An eight-week consultation will run until 14 April 2021 on behalf of North East Joint Transport Committee which is the authority responsible for implementing the change.

Tobyn Hughes, Managing Director of Transport North East, said: “Once Tyne Pass is fully operational, unfortunately it won’t be possible for people to show their exemption badge in person as the barriers will have been removed, therefore we are consulting on a necessary change to allow the new system to function.

“We are keen to provide an excellent service to the people of the North East and we understand that this is an important issue for users of the Tyne Tunnels. Please take some time to share your thoughts as part of the consultation. All feedback will be fully considered ahead of a final decision being made.”

A decision on the change will be made by the North East Joint Transport Committee Tyne and Wear Sub-Committee.

For full information on the consultation and to fill in a survey to share your views, visit www.transportnortheast.gov.uk/tunnelsconsultation

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