LABOUR MP Charlotte Nichols has said she is looking to formally challenge the decision to increase the toll at Warburton Bridge.

The toll is set to increase from 12p per crossing to £1 per crossing, as owners Peel have been given permission to increase the fare by the Secretary of State.

It is a move that has been condemned by many, including Warrington Borough Council, and now one of Warrington's MPs has lashed out at the decision.

Warrington Guardian: The toll booth is at the end of the bridge, and will see drivers charged £1 in future instead of 12pThe toll booth is at the end of the bridge, and will see drivers charged £1 in future instead of 12p (Image: Maps)

Labour's Charlotte Nichols, MP for Warrington North, has issued a statement to the Warrington Guardian.

The MP said: "The decision by the Secretary of State, Huw Merriman, to approve the Transport and Works Act Order relating to the Rixton and Warburton toll bridge is a huge slap in the face to our community.

"This was granted despite 313 local objections, objections raised at the planning inquiry by myself, Warrington Borough Council and Trafford Council, and a frankly tenuous case from Peel on the need for it at all. 

"This new order will mean the bridge toll increasing almost 800 per cent at the worst possible time.

"It is not only the toll increase but the level of the toll increase for users which will have a significant negative impact, something that the very limited discounts for a very small number of postcode areas will do little to mitigate. 

"I doubt it is a coincidence that the decision was quietly slipped out during recess, away from Parliamentary scrutiny."

She added: "I am taking advice on what routes are available to formally challenge this, either through Parliament or the courts, in the hope there is a way to reverse a disastrous decision for local residents from a Government that just doesn't care."

Warrington Guardian: Ms Nichols has criticised Peel's decision to up the tollMs Nichols has criticised Peel's decision to up the toll (Image: Parliament TV)

What did Peel say on the matter?

Issuing a statement to the Warrington Guardian, a spokesperson for Peel Ports said: "The acceptance of our application by the Secretary of State means we can now begin to carry out much-needed improvement works to modernise and update the Rixton and Warburton Bridge.

"The works will tackle congestion and, most importantly, they will bring about improved conditions for all road users in the area.

“As previously signalled, the works will necessitate an increase in the toll charged to use the Bridge – a toll which has been in place for many years at a very low rate, at odds with other, similar bridge tolls.

"There will be no toll charges in place during the period of improvement works, and there will be a discount scheme in place for local residents once the works are complete.

“Our focus now is on continuing to work with the relevant local authorities, and the communities in Warrington and Trafford, to minimise the impact of the works on all road users.

"We look forward to carrying out the improvement works, which will ultimately provide a more seamless transition across the Manchester Ship Canal.”