Since the Independent Planning Inspector’s decision to allow the proposed increase in tolls on the Warburton Bridge was released on 6 October, Warrington South MP Andy Carter has been meeting with officials in Parliament and speaking to Warrington Borough Council to consider available routes to challenge the outcome.
On Wednesday, he met with the Transport Minister, Huw Merriman MP, to urge him to reconsider how the costs of the repair works are not being evenly apportioned between the motorists and the Bridge owners, Peel. The MP has also discussed the option of submitting an application to the High Court by the Council to challenge the validity of the Order allowing the toll increase to go ahead.
Andy Carter MP said:
The Planning Inspector’s decision to allow Peel to proceed with their toll increase on the Warburton Bridge is an incredibly disappointing outcome. I have opposed these plans at every stage and I share the frustration of my constituents, particularly those who are frequent users of this crossing for work purposes. It is not fair that they should be saddled with the costs of the Bridge repair works.
Since the Inspector released his report I have been meeting with senior Council Officers, Clerks in the House of Commons and the Transport Minister to discuss what possible options are open to me as the MP to challenge the decision. When I spoke with the Minister on Wednesday, I made clear my opposition and have urged him to look again at how the Bridge repair costs can be split between the Manchester Ship Canal owners and motorists who need to travel over the bridge.
While I am presently unable to amend the Order myself in the House of Commons, there is a right to challenge the validity of Orders made under the Transport Works Act within 42 days of the Order being made if the decision reached is not within the powers of the TWA or if any requirement imposed by or under the TWA has not been complied with.
Such a challenge must be made via an application to the High Court and has to come from the Local Authority, not the MP. Having spoken with the Chief Executive of Warrington Brough Council about this, it is my understanding that the Council are now taking legal advice on the grounds for such an application. I will support them in any way I can should they decide to proceed.