LEADERS at Warrington Borough Council have called for urgent talks with Peel Ports to try and minimise the increasing frequency of the swing bridges on the Manchester Ship Canal.

It follows the launch of a campaign by the Warrington Guardian last week to stop the bridges swinging at rush hour.

A spokesman said: “The Manchester Ship Canal Act of 1885 gives Peel Ports a lot of power. But things have changed a great deal since 1885 and Peel need to acknowledge this.

“If they don't, they could cause avoidable traffic problems in and around Warrington.

“They could cause increasing annoyance to residents, businesses, visitors and through-traffic and they could risk harming our local economy.

“Peel need to understand that with power comes responsibility. If they operate their bridges in a purely self-interested way, if they don't take into account other people's needs, they'll cause problems.”

The council have named a number of options, which, they believe, could help alleviate the problem.

This includes providing advanced warnings of planned shipping movements to stakeholders through the use of an early warning system.

This information could also be published on the internet and on social media as well as via text messaging and mobile phone apps.

Other options include looking at modernising the bridges so that they swing faster and using swing bridge signs to inform the travelling public about the status of the bridge.

The council also plans to work with Peel Ports to increase the proportion of sailings during the off-peak and night-time periods.

The spokesman added: “The council believes this can be achieved by planning vessel movements in such a way that the proportion of vessels passing through the swing bridges at Warrington during the peak period remains at or below 150 per year.

“This would be 20 per cent of the current 750 vessel movements a year, and the council wants this percentage reduced to 15 per cent over the next 5 years.”

Peel Ports have so far refused to agree to this.

To sign our petition over the visit, click here