Originally promised to be scrapped early in this decade once the bridge had been paid for, the Government changed legislation to allow the fee to remain in place, and even raised the price of the toll last year. The northbound tunnel and southbound QE2 bridge are now part of a package of public-owned assets the Government is planning to sell-off to ease the financial quagmire it has created.

But local councillors and motoring groups are worried that private enterprise would seek to make a quick return by hiking the cost of the crossing, for which there is little alternative without lengthy diversion.

The Government, however, has pledged to “regulate” new owners, should the sale go through, to avoid massive rises. That’ll be “regulate” as in the way it handled the financial institutions, will it?