The long-term benefits that the controversial cashless change at the Tyne Tunnel will bring for the environment have been revealed.
In the new system vehicles don't have to stop, start and accelerate repeatedly, as they would have done when queuing to use toll booths.
The revelations come after over 11,000 people signed a petition criticising the Tunnel's recent changes and demanding some backtracks be made.
As well as saving journey time, environmental benefits were at the heart of the decision to move to the new system.
The Tyne Tunnel has said that it is on track to reduce carbon emissions by 50,000 tonnes in the first year of open- road-tolling.
Chief Executive at TT2, Philip Smith said: “The investment in a more modern operation has provided quicker, smoother journeys for customers and now it has been shown to have significant environmental benefits to boot.
“The reduction in emissions will inevitably have a positive effect on air quality for those who live and work near the tunnels and will continue to reduce further when the roadworks to remove the old plazas are complete.”
The figures on emissions will be encouraging for North East Combined Authority which formally declared a climate emergency in 2019 and has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2030.
TT2 was certified as carbon neutral by the Carbon Trust in 2020 and has already ensured that its emissions from owned or controlled sources are net-zero.
This was achieved through a range of measures including installing LED lighting in the tunnels and ensuring all of its electricity is generated from certifiable renewable sources.
The company is now focussing on reducing indirect emissions.
Cllr Martin Gannon, Chair of the North East Joint Transport Committee, adds: “This is a positive step towards the decarbonisation of the transport network and a vision of moving to a green, healthy, dynamic and thriving North East as outlined in the North East Transport Plan.”