TRAFFIC delays caused by Thelwall Viaduct closures could soon be reduced under plans to cut tolls on Warburton Toll Bridge.

Councillors heard how Peel Ports Holdings is close to signing up to a scheme which would see them drop the 12p tariff if the bridge was closed to help alleviate congestion.

Liberal Democrat Clr Bob Barr put forward a motion at full council on Monday calling on Peel to lift restrictions when tailbacks on the bridge formed.

But the party was accused of ‘jumping on the bandwagon’ as plans to cut the levy when the bridge is shut already close to agreement.

Clr Barr (LD - Lymm) said: “I am not asking for them to stop tolling altogether, simply to stop tolling when the tailbacks from the toll booth exceed some agreed limit. “I understand that Peel has already agreed to consider stopping tolling at Warburton when the Thelwall viaduct is closed which is a move in the right direction.

“We want Peel to become good neighbours to the people of Warrington, Salford and Trafford. At minimal cost they can stop causing unnecessary congestion, stop wasting our residents’ time and causing air pollution, by forgoing their right to collect a tiny toll.

“Tolling at all times is not the action of a constructive partner in the economic development of the north west but could be viewed as the action of a greedy bully.”

But Clr Sheila Woodyatt (CON - Lymm) hit back.

She said: “This motion is a typical example of the Lib Dems jumping on a bandwagon which is already rolling.

“I’m in no doubt in the next batch of ‘out of Focus’ leaflets they will take any credit for any good that comes out of this even though the amendments were an all party agreement.”

Clr Linda Dirir (LAB - Penketh and Cuerdley) added: “This part of the memorandum has been before Peel Ports for at least eight months, never in those meetings with them have they quibbled about this, they say they can see the sense and are happy to apply it.

“We don’t think a campaign is necessary, we are almost there.”

Councillors approved the motion following a change to say the tolls would be lifted when Thewlall Bridge was closed.