THERE seems to be a lot of people under the impression that all Halton residents will be getting free journeys across the new Mersey Bridge.

This is not the case and I am sure there will be howls of anguish when the truth hits home.

It is worth looking at the Mersey Gateway website to see how these free crossings will be implemented.

For example, did you know that only residents registered with the council as living in a property in Halton with a council tax band of A, B, C, D, E or F will be eligible but residents living in a property in Halton with a council tax band of G and H must apply to the council to be included in the local user discount scheme as a result of economic hardship or other special circumstances?

So many Halton residents will find themselves means tested to qualify.

Halton Council has yet to work out how the scheme will be implemented for children under 17 who obviously are too young to be on the electoral register.

Also each qualifying resident will only be able to register one vehicle on the discount scheme, but there will be no limit on how many vehicles can be registered in each household.

So if more than one car is registered to a Halton resident only one will be eligible for free crossings. Not good where children use cars registered in their parents’ name.

Additionally commercial vehicles and even cars used for business purposes will not qualify so have to pay.

This could amount to a lot for a small business crossing the river several times a day.

Where a car is not registered to a Halton resident, say a works van, company or lease car, it will not be eligible for free crossings.

This matters to people in Warrington because it will mean even more people, including Widnes and Runcorn residents who do not qualify, will also drive through Warrington to avoid the tolls.