METRO mayor Steve Rotheram is calling on the Government to extend the Mersey Gateway local discount scheme on the tolls to all regular bridge users.

He has written to the Secretary of State for Transport following last week's traffic watchdog statement which claims that the existing tolls may be 'illegal'.

The Traffic Penalty Tribunal published a statement on Friday ruling that a motorist was not liable to pay the toll for using the Mersey Gateway bridge because Halton Council had not specified the sum of the charge in the Mersey Gateway Road User Charging Order 2017.

The mayor believes this is now an “ideal opportunity” for the Government to re-consider its pledge, made before the 2015 election, to fund a wider local discount scheme for regular users of the Mersey Gateway.

In a letter to Chris Grayling the Mayor noted that Halton Council had “done its best to protect regular users of the bridge from paying excessive tolls, by funding a discount scheme where its residents pay a small annual fee for regular travel across the bridge”.

However, he went on to say that the Government’s “unexecuted promise” meant that the Liverpool City Region’s other five districts (Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral) were “suffering a disadvantage”.

Mr Rotheram added: “The Government really needs to understand the sense of anger amongst local residents who live outside of Halton but regularly travel back and forth across the bridge.”

The mayor's letter follows a series of calls by Halton and regional politicians for the tolling arrangements to be reviewed by Government.

At present only eligible Halton residents can register for free crossings across the tolled bridge, subsidised by the Government and Halton Council.