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Tuesday 24 October 2017

M1 toll reduced as court upholds overcharge claim

Paul Melia and Tim Healy

MOTORISTS using the M1 motorway to Belfast will pay 10 cent less for their trip from today after the High Court ruled they had been overcharged.

And drivers using three of the country's other tolled roads can also expect a drop in tolls within days.

The move comes after the High Court yesterday ruled that the operators of the M1 motorway misinterpreted by-laws governing how tolls were calculated.

They were ordered to reduce charges by 10c per car trip immediately.

The judgment affects three other tolled roads -- the N8 Rathcormac/Fermoy bypass in Co Cork, the N25 Waterford bypass and the M4 Kinnegad-Enfield-Kilcock motorway -- where operators had refused to reduce charges.

But the decision is likely to result in cheaper tolls on these roads within days.

The National Roads Authority (NRA) claimed that Celtic Roads Group (CRG), which operates the M1 motorway, had been overcharging drivers since January this year.


It said tolls should have been reduced from €1.90 to €1.80 per car because the Consumer Price Index, which measures the cost of living and is used to calculate the toll, had fallen.

Last night it said the case was taken in the "public good" and that it had written to the operators of the N8, N25 and M4 stating that it expected the tolls to be reduced.

Motorists currently pay €2.90 to use the M4 and €1.90 to use the N25 and N8.

Charges are expected to drop by 5c.

These roads are operated by Eurolink (M4), Southlink (N25) and Direct Route (N8).

The judgment is only legally-binding on CRG, which said it would apply the reduced toll but might appeal. The other operators must now decide if they will comply with the court ruling.

"The NRA is pleased with the decision of the court and appreciates that the court has given us such an early judgment," a spokesman said.

The roads body said CRG did not correctly interpret the by-laws and stood to make €26,000 a week by overcharging motorists.

The NRA said it was up to each motorist to attempt to reclaim excess charges.

Irish Independent

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