Cost of Mersey Tunnels on local residents

The request was partially successful.

Peter Carpenter

Dear Liverpool City Region Combined Authority,

The Metro Mayor tries to justify the recent tunnel toll increase on non-city residents by claiming that the 'burden of cost' [of the tunnels] falls on city residents. What exactly is this cost? When have city residents been asked to pay it and how much was it?

Yours faithfully,

Peter Carpenter

FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Dear Mr Carpenter

RSN19060

Thank you for your email to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 / Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and will be answered within twenty working days.

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me. Please quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely,

Andy Henderson

Senior Information Management Officer | LCRCA | Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
Office: 0151 330 1679 | Email: [Liverpool City Region Combined Authority request email]

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FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Dear Mr Carpenter

RSN19060

Thank you for your recent request made under the Freedom of Information Act.

In accordance with Section 21 of the Act, the running costs for the Mersey Tunnels are a matter of public record contained in the annual accounts of the Combined Authority which are available on our website at this link: https://www.liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.u....

The overwhelming majority of tunnel users are Liverpool City Region residents (80%), who therefore bear the majority of those costs.

I trust that this information is of interest to you.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review, which should be addressed to:
Jill Coule
Chief Legal Officer / Monitoring Officer
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
[email address]

If you are not content with the result of your internal review, you also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner, whose address is
The Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
www.ico.gov.uk

Andy Henderson

Senior Information Management Officer | LCRCA | Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
Office: 0151 330 1679 | Email: [Liverpool City Region Combined Authority request email]

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

The information supplied continues to be protected by copyright. You are free to use it for your own purposes, including for private study and non-commercial research and for any other purpose authorised by an exception in current copyright law. Documents (except photographs) can also be used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of news reporting.  Any other reuse, for example, commercial publication would require the permission of the copyright holder.

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Peter Carpenter

Dear Liverpool City Region Combined Authority,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Liverpool City Region Combined Authority's handling of my FOI request 'Cost of Mersey Tunnels on local residents'.

This is not in any way an adequate response. My questions were;
What exactly is this cost? When have city residents been asked to pay it and how much was it?

You said;
In accordance with Section 21 of the Act, the running costs for the Mersey Tunnels are a matter of public record contained in the annual accounts of the Combined Authority which are available on our website at this link: https://www.liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.u....

This is a 126 page document. You did not say where the information could be found and I am not going trawl through that to find it.

You also said;
The overwhelming majority of tunnel users are Liverpool City Region residents (80%), who therefore bear the majority of those costs.

You still have not said what these costs are or when residents have been asked to pay them.

You patronisingly suggest;
I trust that this information is of interest to you.

Not likely. This is just an arrogant attempt to fob me off because you do not have answers to my questions.
As pathetic and woeful as Metro Mayor Rotheram's refusal to answer any of my 4 letters to him on this matter.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

Peter Carpenter

FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Dear Mr Carpenter

Your request for an internal review has been received and passed to the Monitoring Officer.

LCRCA will aim to respond within twenty working days.

Andrew Henderson
Senior Information Management Officer | 1 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP
Office: 0151 330 1679 | Email: [email address]

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FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

9 Attachments

Dear Mr Carpenter

Further to your email, I have conducted an internal review of the LCRCA's response to your recent Freedom of Information request.

I am of the opinion that our response to your first question regarding the cost of the tunnels, in which we referred you to the LCRCA published draft accounts (https://www.liverpoolcityregion-ca.gov.u...), could have been more helpful. It is possible to search the document for the word 'tunnels', but I appreciate that this may not be immediately obvious to all. For your information, this function can be accessed by right-clicking on the document and selecting 'Find'. The details included in the accounts include the tunnels funding (p.6), income and expenditure (p.37) and expenditure and funding analysis (p.66).

To clarify, in 2018/19 the running and maintenance of the Mersey Tunnels cost £25.5 million, while in 2017/18 they cost £26 million. Costs for earlier years are available in the accounts for previous years, which can be found both on the LCRCA and Merseytravel's websites (the Merseytravel website includes accounts pre-dating the establishment of the LCRCA in 2014, so contains a more comprehensive record https://www.merseytravel.gov.uk/about-us...).

For background, the Mersey Tunnels are not part of the national highway network, and are therefore not supported by any Government funding. All associated costs, from their initial construction to the ongoing maintenance, are met by the tolls charged to motorists, the Transport Levy provided by the region's Councils (which is funded partly by Council Tax) and the Tunnels Operational Grant. The Queensway Tunnel opened in 1934 at an original cost of c.£8 million and the Kingsway Tunnel opened in 1971 at an original cost of c.£37 million, and were both financed by loans. Both Tunnels have required ongoing maintenance since their openings, and further loans have at times been required to cover the operational costs when low traffic levels have led to a shortfall.

Given the detailed and extensive history of the Mersey Tunnels, we do not readily have a figure to hand of their overall cost during their lives, but as you can appreciate from the figures provided, the costs are substantial. To further illustrate this, please find attached a collection of documents detailing the financing of the Mersey Tunnels, which we have previously been able to gather in response to an earlier Freedom of Information request.

Details of the current Transport Levy can be found on p.10 of the report at this link: https://moderngov.merseytravel.gov.uk/do.... This also includes details of the latest toll levels, and an explanation of how these were set.

As mentioned in our initial response, roughly 80% of tunnel users are Liverpool City Region residents, who fund the tunnel through the payment of the tolls and the payment of their Council Tax that contributes to the Transport Levy. The tolls have been in place since both Tunnels opened, and it can therefore be stated that they have been (and are being) paid for in the most part by the region's residents.

Further information on the Mersey Tunnels, including a Facts & Myths section, can be found on Merseytravel's website at this link: https://www.merseytravel.gov.uk/tunnels/...

I trust that this information is of interest to you.

If you are not content with the result of your internal review, you also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner, whose address is
The Information Commissioner's Office,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
www.ico.gov.uk

Sent on behalf of

Jill Coule
Chief Legal Officer & Monitoring Officer
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
1 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP

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