Motorists who have crossed the new Mersey Gateway Bridge may see their toll payments refunded, according to a top motoring lawyer.
Nick Freeman – known as Mr Loophole – believes that millions of charges will have to be paid back after a driver was found not liable to pay the £2 toll due to Halton Council failing to specify the fee properly.
The Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT) also said the council failed to give the correct notice of charges on the brand new bridge, which spans the River Mersey.
Drivers using the Runcorn to Widnes crossing can either register for discounted charges or pat online in advance or by midnight the day after they cross.
Some 10 million vehicles have crossed the £600m bridge since it opened in October 2017, with 250,000 penalty charge notices issued for not paying the toll.
In the first month alone, operators estimated £1m of fines had been issued.
The TPT said Halton Council had not made it clear it was £2 for cars to use the bridge, in the Mersey Gateway Road User Charging Scheme Order 2017, and that it had failed to give correct notice of toll charges.
Celebrity lawyer Mr Freeman now believes every single fine will have to be refunded because the council did not advertise the tolls in a local paper.
He said: ‘Councils are required to advertise these things in both the London Gazette and the relevant local paper.
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‘They failed to do this so due process was not followed.’
Halton Council said it did not agree with the decision and has applied for it to be reviewed.
They added that they were updating the charging order to make it clearer to motorists but people should continue to pay the tolls or ‘run the risk’ of a penalty notice.
The council has put 456 current penalty appeals on hold until the review is concluded.