Sunderland Echo

Consultati­on over planned changes at tunnels

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A consultati­on is underway on a proposed change to the Blue Badge disabled driver exemption system at the Tyne Tunnels.

The move comes ahead of the introducti­on of the new Tyne Pass free-flow system later this year.

A change to the Blue Badge exemption is required as the pass scheme will see all toll barriers replaced with automatic number plate recognitio­n (ANPR) and, as a result, badge holders will no longer be able to show their badge in person at a barrier.

Currently disabled people using the tunnels drive vehicles registered with the DVLA for an exemption from road tax or carry 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 tunnel operator 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 eight-week consultati­on will run until April 14.

To take part, go to www. transportn­ortheast.gov.uk/ tunnelscon­sultation

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.”

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