A three-week consultation on the proposed changes to the tolling which could see more users receiving unlimited travel across the Mersey Gateway Brdige started today (Thursday, March 8).

Halton Council and the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board (MGCB) are seeking views now that the bridge has been open almost six months.

In that period, more than eight million vehicles are using the bridge. The council says traffic flows are positive and surpassing the projected usage levels.

“The council can’t remove the tolls or reduce them, as they are needed to pay for the new infrastructure,” the local authority said on its website today.

The council and MGCB say they have been listening to comments and observations from users and representations from local MPs and are now proposing a series of changes.

The proposed changes outlined in the consultation papers are:
Halton Local User Discount Support Scheme (to replace the Halton Local User Discount Scheme Economic Hardship Scheme)
• To change to the Halton Local User Discount Scheme (LUDS) Economic Hardship Scheme to enable more residents to be able to apply for the LUDS.
• The change will allow those residents living in Council Tax Band G&H properties in apprenticeships* or in full time education** who were previously ineligible to apply for the LUDS, to apply under the new Halton Local User Discount Support Scheme.

Local residents with disabilities
• To allow Halton residents who have a disability who are not eligible for a Blue Badge and whose disability prevents them from driving, to register a vehicle which will benefit from toll exemption when they are travelling in the vehicle.

Exemptions
• To allow further vehicles registered by the emergency services when being used for the purpose of delivering these services, whether or not marked and not already covered by exemptions;
• further ambulance vehicles whether carrying patients or not and registered by the ambulance service and
• agricultural tractors to be able to be added onto the exemptions register.

Classification of Motor Homes
• To designate Motor Homes as vehicles in Class 2, the same classification as applies to private cars.

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