COUNCILLORS have reiterated their opposition to tolls on the Mersey Crossings.

A full council meeting voted unanimously in favour of a motion put forward by Clr Brian Axcell (LD - Appleton) calling on the tolls to be removed from any future crossings.

Clr Brian Axcell told a full council meeting on Monday: “Modelling studies suggested that for a toll of £1.40, fewer vehicles would use old and new bridges combined than are currently using the Runcorn Bridge.

“In other words, more than £400 million was being spent to accommodate less traffic.

“The costs have risen to more than £600 million and the latest figure for the toll is £2. People will want to avoid a payment of £4 for a return journey and instead divert through Warrington.”

Lib Dem leader Clr Ian Marks (LD - Lymm) added: “Businesses were asked what are the disadvantages to being based in Warrington and nearly a quarter stated congestion. Extra congestion could have a real detrimental effect on those businesses.”

But Clr Linda Dirir (LAB - Penketh and Cuerdley) replied: “Congestion is the price of prosperity. Warrington is a prosperous town.”

Conservative leader Clr Paul Kennedy (CON- Hatton, Stretton and Walton) said: “There is a General Election coming up in the next year - common sense might prevail.

“The existing crossing has already been paid out of public taxes and now it will be tolled. Hard pressed motorists will be made to pay for it again.”

Council leader Clr Terry O’Neill (LAB - Burtonwood and Winwick) added he was confused the Lib Dems were questioning a memorandum of understanding which was signed by the previous Lib Dem/Conservative administration.

Clr O’Neill said: “I am a bit perplexed you have signed the memorandum of understanding and now you’re questioning what is said in it.

“We are fighting to remove the tolls. We will continue to lobby whatever government is in power to remove the tolls.”

The motion also calls on more pressure to be put on Halton Council to agree to measures to mitigate any future traffic problems.