A CAMPAIGN group calling for tolls on the Mersey Gateway Bridge to be scrapped fears residents are 'unknowingly walking into a darker future'.

Scrap Mersey Tolls is continuing to push for the tolls to be scrapped as the opening of the new site edges closer.

Former Chancellor George Osborne pledged that drivers in Warrington and Cheshire West and Chester would have charges waived ahead of the 2015 General Election.

But many of the borough's motorists are facing a £1,080 yearly bill to cross the bridge when it opens to traffic this month following a Government U-turn in January.

Last month transport ministers declined an offer to hold a meeting with the town’s politicians over the issue but Warrington South MP Faisal Rashid has vowed to carry on pressing the Government.

Scrap Mersey Tolls members are also urging the public to continue voicing their concerns to their councillors and MPs.

Speaking on behalf of the group, John McGoldrick said: "I have been involved in anti-toll campaigns elsewhere and I have never seen a scheme which is as bad as this one, everything about it is wrong.

"The politicians seem to be proud of what they have achieved but it would have been a hundred times better if they had just done nothing.

"The many negative features of this scheme are unknown to 99 per cent of the people in our area and they have been unknowingly walking into a darker future."

Almost 100 people attended the group's public meeting last Monday.

Mr McGoldrick added: "One of the many points that was highlighted at the meeting was the effect of fines on those who for some reason do not pay the toll, or are not recorded as paying.

"It will be a gateway to paradise for the bailiffs but horrendous for many other people.

"Like most of the negative features of this scheme it has not been publicly talked about.

"The fines will not only affect local people, a lot of those fined will be strangers or tourists.

"The experience of being chased for fines will mean that most will then avoid our area, increasing the damage that will be caused to the economy by tolls.

"We will be doing what we can over the coming months to oppose the tolls but we urge everyone to contact their councillors and MPs now to tell them to scrap the tolls."

Mersey Gateway chiefs did not wish to comment.