REVENUE from Mersey Gateway Bridge toll fines topped £20 million in 20 months – but campaigners claim the real cost is far higher.

Motorists who fail to pay for crossing the site in time receive a penalty charge notice (PCN).

After being pressed by Scrap Mersey Tolls, Halton Borough Council has provided the campaign group with figures revealing the income from PCNs.

The amount of revenue, from October 2017 to the end of June this year, totals around £18,752,000.

The council has also provided figures relating to the money collected after the matter went to the Traffic Enforcement Centre.

The figure – which covers the period from September 2018 to the end of June this year – comes to £1,491,000.

It brings the total confirmed amount to more than £20,243,000, which does not include the money received from motorists who pay tolls to cross the site in time.

However, campaigners believe the amount of cash collected is far higher as it does not include the money retained by Marston, the enforcement agents.

The group was told the council does not hold that information.

It then carried out its own estimate and claimed £32 million in penalties and ‘fees’ has been paid by drivers using the crossing to Merseyflow and the enforcement agents.

The estimated amount covers the period up to the end of June this year.

John McGoldrick, from Scrap Mersey Tolls, said: “This £32 million additional burden on top of the already expensive and unwanted tolls is not the only adverse effect of the penalty system.

“All drivers who receive a PCN, on top of the unwelcome fine, also have to waste time dealing with it.

“A large number of people will have been affected by this nuisance as an almost incredible 1.4 million penalty notices had been issued by Merseyflow up to the end of June.

“The figure is even more astounding as four in every 10 car drivers using the crossing would not normally get a penalty as they have been exempted from paying the toll, mainly because they live in Halton.

“I and others are convinced that the tolls are illegal and their enforcement is unlawful.

“But even if this were lawful, how can it be right for the politicians to inflict such a terrible and financially punitive system on our area?”

But a spokesperson for Merseyflow and the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board has dismissed the £32 million claim.

He said: “The figures supplied are grossly incorrect and we call on Scrap Mersey Tolls to retract or amend this statement.

“This is speculation based on assumptions and guesswork and should not be taken seriously.

“Every three months we publish and share information on the amount of traffic using the bridge, the income this generates for the public purse, and also the number of PCNs being issued.

“This income is used to pay off the investment needed to build the bridge.

“There is a clear trend emerging as we approach the second anniversary of the bridge opening, which shows traffic volumes increasing, the percentage of journeys paid for on time increasing from an already high 97 per cent, and the number of PCNs issued falling.

“This tells its own story about how people are using the bridge and we are focused on continuing to improve our service to customers.

“You can find this information online at”

A Marston spokesman added: “The figures estimated are completely inaccurate and grossly exaggerated.

“In any event, in all cases, the enforcement fees are set by law, and only apply after multiple unsuccessful attempts to collect unpaid fines.”

Halton Borough Council did not wish to add anything to the comments made by Merseyflow, Mersey Gateway Crossings Board and Marston.