A LANDMARK ruling which said motorists should not have to pay tolls on the Mersey Gateway between Widnes and Runcorn has been upheld.
It means hundreds of pending fines could be invalidated.
It follows a Traffic Penalty Tribunal ruling in April that the tolls were legally unenforceable as Halton Council, the charging authority, did not specify the price of the toll charge clearly enough in the Mersey Gateway Road Charging Order 2017.
After a review of the ruling, independent adjudicator Mr Solomons, has ruled there were enough technical and legal points which meant the charging scheme used by the council was not enforceable under the Transport Act 2000.
But he said the signs – deemed to be inadequate at the prior hearing – did not breach the law.
He said: “There may be room for improvement of the advanced signage but I do not consider that it falls below the required standard of adequacy.”
Pending the outcome of the review. some 547 appeals have been on hold.
The appeal hearing centred around five cases where motorists had either not seen the signs or were expecting to see a toll plaza so were unaware of the need to pay online or by phone.
Those appellants have been found not liable to pay the toll or the penalty charge.
Halton Council must now to decide what to do about the remaining penalty charge notice appeals that are on hold.
A spokesperson for the Mersey Gateway Crossings Board said:“We are disappointed by this decision.
“We will now take time to review today’s decision with our external legal advisors and consider our next steps.
“Since April 19 2018 a new Charging Order has been in place.
“This new charging order now regulates the tolling on Mersey Gateway and it’s really important that everyone who uses the crossing pays their toll charge to avoid the risk of getting a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).”