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2003 NEWS

2004 News

19 December 2003

Government puts off decision on new Crossing

Bridges The government were expected to announce this month a decision on the proposed new crossing to ease congestion on the Runcorn Widnes bridge. Instead they have declared it a "super work in progress" and called for further work before they make a decision.
Halton's web site on the crossing, inc a bigger version of this pic.

12 December 2003

Government unveils "Radical Congestion Busting" Bill

Today the government announced details of a new Bill to combat road congestion. No! They are not going to improve roads, instead they are going to tinker with the problem. One interesting measure is that local authorities will have to appoint a Traffic Manager with the job of keeping traffic moving. That will be an interesting job on Merseyside where they are demolishing Tunnels flyovers and closing roads.

9 December 2003

Clock turned back to turnpike days with first motorway toll

M6 As an early Xmas present, the Secretary of State for Transport today opened the M6 Relief Motorway. The road has been paid for and will be run for the next 53 years by a firm which is 75% owned by the Australians and 25% by the Italians. The firm can charge what it likes, and is initially charging a "discounted" rate of 2 for cars, a director of the company has been reported as saying this is "only the price of a cup of coffee".

You can see what some people think of this at BBC site: Views on M6 Toll P.S. Per news in mid January, part of the new road was closed for repairs!

7 December 2003

Recruiting in Grange Road, Birkenhead

grange_road_6Dec03 grange MTUA had a great day on Saturday 6th Dec. People were busy with Christmas shopping & it was a cold day, but they were still keen to show what they thought of Tunnels Tolls and the Bill.

MPs backing campaign

Many local MPs have for a long time been opposing toll increases. We thank these MPs for their continuing efforts. Local MPs who opposed the Bill are pictured below.



Stephen Hesford MP for Wirral West, Ben Chapman MP for Wirral South, and Dave Loudon the MTUA chairman

andrew     frank     bob

Andrew Miller MP for Ellesmere Port & Neston, Frank Field MP for Birkenhead, and Bob Wareing MP for West Derby


The MTUA have submitted a "Petition" to the House of Lords. The Petition is a formal document that means that instead of being nodded through, the Bill should now go to the Opposed Bills Committee of the Lords.

The Petition was taken down to London by Ben Chapman MP, who is seen here being presented it by MTUA secretary.

29 October 2003 - Mersey Tunnels Private Bill

The Bill will make it easier to increase Tunnel tolls and use the money elsewhere.
Today the Bill completed its passage through the Commons. The Bill appeared to be backed by government whips and was given unlimited time for it's final stages.
The MPs who spoke against the Bill were on the Labour side: Ben Chapman, Frank Field, Stephen Hesford, Andrew Miller and Bob Wareing, and on the Conservative side: Christopher Chope and Bob Spink.
Given what was happening, the resistance that was put up was to some extent a token one, and there was only one full vote (on one of the amendments.)
The voting figures were:-


Against the bill and on our side:-

95 Conservatives, including Kenneth Clarke, Tim Collins, David Davis, John Hayes,Theresa May and Michael Howard;

and 13 Labour including Ben Chapman (Wirral South), Frank Field (Birkenhead), Stephen Hesford (Wirral West), Andrew Miller (Ellesmere Port & Neston) and Bob Wareing (West Derby).

As The Scaffold said "THANK YOU VERY VERY VERY MUCH" to ALL the above MPs.

For the bill:- 174 Labour, including John Prescott and 5 other members of the Cabinet, 3 Transport Ministers and these local MPs:- Joe Benton (Bootle), Claire Curtis-Thomas (Crosby), Angela Eagle (Wallasey), Maria Eagle (Garston), Louise Ellman (Liverpool Riverside), and George Howarth (Knowsley); 32 Liberal Democrats including Charles Kennedy (Leader), Menzies Campbell (Deputy Leader), and John Pugh (Southport); and 2 Unionists and 1 Conservative.

27 October 2003

Mersey Tunnels Private Bill
The bill will make it easier to increase Tunnel tolls and use the money elsewhere. The Commons Report stage of the bill resumes on Wednesday 29th October (this continues on from the session on 10 June). It is generally expected that Merseytravel will succeed in getting the bill through. But while there is still a chance of stopping it, we urge you to contact your MP to make your views known.

Tolls Increase Order
Merseytravel have applied for a Toll increase, due to take effect April 2004. There was a consultation period which ended on 3 March 2003. Various people have made representations and MTUA put in a formal objection. It was expected that by now a Public Inquiry would have been announced, but it hasn't. We believe that we can make a strong case against toll increases and we have been asking the Department for Transport to explain the delay.

Mersey Tunnels Accounts 2002/03
Merseytravel have closed their accounts for 2002/03. As with all local authorities they are required to make the accounts and supporting documents availble for the public. We have looked at the accounts for the Tunnels and will be updating the relevant web pages. The main item that interests us, is that the Tunnels seem to have done better than expected, and an extra 3 million of Tunnels debt was repaid. We are obviously pleased that the Tunnels are doing so well, but don't understand why the money was used to pay off debt rather than added to Tunnels reserve.

Other news
We have been distributing leaflets and car stickers with the aim of attracting more members. If you are interested in joining us, then please click on the Join page link. The more the merrier!

10 June 2003 - Private Bill
In the Commons there was start of the Consideration stage of Mersey Tunnels Private Bill.

Locally the main MPs opposing the Merseytravel bill are all Labour:- from the Wirral - Ben Chapman, Frank Field, Stephen Hesford; from Liverpool - Bob Wareing; from Ellesmere Port & Neston - Andrew Miller. (Part of the bill makes it easier to give noise insulation grants to those living near to the Wallasey tunnel. In principle, no MPs are opposing this. The cost is estimated as 3 days worth of Tolls.)

At this stage it is almost impossible to stop a bill, but various amendments have been put down. 7 of these were taken as a whole. These amendments would have reduced the frequency and amount of increases. After over 2 hours of debate, the Merseytravel side moved that the question be now put, and having won that vote then went on to defeat the amendments. By this time the 3 hours allowed for the bill ran out. The Bill will come back at some point for the other amendments to be voted on.

Over the 2 votes those voting for Merseytravel Private bill were 146 Labour, 31 Liberal Democrats, 3 others. And against them 62 Conservatives, 9 Labour and 5 others. As you can see MPs from all over UK are keen for those of us on Merseyside to pay more to travel between Wirral and Liverpool. The voting is increasingly more like a government sponsored bill and unlike a Private Bill. Those who voted for the Bill included the Secretary of State for Transport and his 2 ministers.

2004 News

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