Bridge board faces £200k cost of Bill
A NEW parliamentary Bill paving the way for major changes at the Humber Bridge is set to cost £200,000.
Under a recent deal with the Government, the bridge board is preparing to promote a Private Bill in Parliament to establish new legal powers over issues such as toll charges and financial borrowing.
The new-look board, which is made up of the region's four council leaders and two private sector representatives, gave formal approval to work to start on preparing the Bill at a meeting yesterday.
However, the board will be required to meet the full cost of all the associated fees and expenses incurred during the process.
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Initial estimates put the likely cost at about £200,000 – the equivalent of 133,333 tolls from cars crossing the bridge.
At the moment, the board does not have a specific budget set aside to cover the cost of promoting the Bill, which will be spearheaded in Parliament by Brigg and Goole MP Andrew Percy.
Instead, the money is likely to come from under spending on projects and budgets in previous years which has been carried into the board's reserves.
Board chairman Councillor Liz Redfern said securing parliamentary approval of the Bill was vital step in transforming the bridge and its board for the future.
"It is something we have to do and we must get it right," she said.
The Bill is expected to go before Parliament in mid-November and MPs from across the region are expected to unite across the political divide to ensure their 100 per cent support.
However, board clerk Darryl Stephenson said steering a Private Members' Bill through Parliament was not a straightforward task.
He said approvals were needed from the relevant minister and three different government departments before it even reached the House of Commons.
"The agents we have appointed to promote the bill tell us that it's like a mouse getting through a jungle," said Mr Stephenson.
"It's a very difficult process, not least because certain MPs are well-known for objecting to private bills. They regard it as something of a sport."
The previous bridge board has promoted private bills before, securing Acts of Parliament in 1959, 1971 and 1973 to pave the way for the construction of the crossing as well as establishing the constitution of the board, the setting of tolls and provisions relating to its finances.
Before it reaches Parliament, the board's proposed Bill will also be the subject of a public consultation on both sides of the estuary, involving residents and business users.