Disappointment for Manchester Against Road Tolls

Date published: 24 April 2008

Last night (Wednesday 23rd), there were two more votes on the plan for a "Congestion Charge" scheme for Greater Manchester.

In Rochdale there was a Conservative motion that there be a referendum or "Toll Poll" on the issue. A Labour amendment that the poll be in 13 weeks was accepted, but then the amended motion was defeated by the votes of the Lib Dems.

In Bolton, the Tories moved a motion that the borough have nothing to do with the toll scheme, but the motion was defeated by Labour and Lib Dem votes.

A spokesperson for Manchester Against Road Tolls said: "We are disappointed that the two Councils are still supporting the road toll plans and that they have not joined the three councils that already oppose it - Stockport, Trafford and Bury. Under the present law, no council can be forced into having tolls on its roads, but it has been suggested that if six or seven out of the ten councils still want road tolls, then the others will somehow be forced to do the same.

"Some of the councils who support road tolls seem to be living in a fantasy world, as they seem to think that the tolls will not affect their borough. But people wherever they live will be affected by the first phase if they cross either of the two toll cordons, one of which is the M60. Even if drivers do not have to cross the M60 for work or travelling to shops, colleges and hospitals, they will be affected by later phases where the intention is to spread the tolls to other main roads within the Greater Manchester boundary.

"The Council Leaders who voted for this toll plan back in last July actually voted for the submission to the Government of a document that it seems they had not seen. They may have been happy to do this but at the beginning of August, MART made a Freedom of Information Act request to see what had been submitted. The Government refused to release any of the documents and we are still waiting on the result of an appeal to the Information Commissioner.

"If this road tolls scheme goes ahead it will have a dramatic effect on people and businesses. It is a great pity that over 8 months after the tolls plan was submitted all of us are still being kept in the dark."

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