(page created 26 September 2018, last revised 16 Mar 2019)
SCRAP MERSEY TOLLS PETITION on 38 Degrees
Scrap Mersey Tolls - Facebook open group
No Tolls home page
Main Mersey Gateway page
MERSEY GATEWAY AND PENALTIES - WHAT YOU CAN DO
'Scrap Mersey Tolls' campaigns against the tolling of the old and new bridges between Runcorn and Widnes. The group also opposes Mersey Tunnels tolls. This page suggests what you can do to deal with Penalties on the Mersey Gateway, and includes links to other pages dealing with penalties.
On this page-
General Advice If You Are Being Chased For Tolls, Penalties And Costs
Advice Following Traffic Penalty Tribunal Decision On 11th March 2019
A few case histories from 2018
On other pages-
Background Information About The Penalties
STAGE ONE - Making A Representation Online To Merseyflow
STAGE TWO - Making An Appeal Online To Traffic Penalty Tribunal
STAGES THREE & FOUR - Traffic Enforcement Centre - Charge Certificates and Recovery Orders
STAGE FIVE - The Bailiffs
GENERAL ADVICE IF YOU ARE BEING CHASED FOR TOLLS, PENALTIES AND COSTS
We believe that the tolls enforcement is illegal. This has been confirmed by decisions on appeals to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, but the authorities have ignored the judgements of the Tribunal. You can see more about this on our page which gives background information about the penalties.
The issue may have to resolved in other courts. In the meantime - DO NOT IGNORE ANYTHING THAT THEY SEND YOU. PAY UP OR FIGHT IT.
Whatever stage of the process it is at, THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS TO ACT QUICKLY, even if you either ignored or were unable to deal with previous stages of the process.
Be careful what you say on Facebook or other social media as you may say something which later makes it harder to fight penalties and costs.
This terrible system is the fault of the politicians, so contact your MP and councillor so that they can not say that they do not know what is going on. They may even help you!!
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ADVICE FOLLOWING TRAFFIC PENALTY TRIBUNAL DECISION ON 11th MARCH 2019
On 11th March, the Tribunal ruled on a test case and allowed the appeal on the grounds of 'procedural improprieties'. Statement made by the Tribunal. This mean that the tolls are not enforceable - AND NEVER HAVE BEEN.
This does not yet mean that you need not pay the tolls or that if they chase you for payment of tolls and penalties that you can ignore them. There is still a risk that either the Tribunal changes its mind or that the Decision is overruled by another court.
We are looking at various forms of legal action, but in the meantime we suggest that-
# WHATEVER STAGE YOU ARE AT
Contact Merseyflow. Their email address is- email@example.com .
Tell them that the tolls are not enforcable, that their enforcement actions are ILLEGAL and that if they do not immediately stop all recovery action then you will see a solicitor. DEMAND the return of any monies that you have already paid.
Say something like-
"Your tolls are not enforceable, and your enforcement actions are ILLEGAL as has recently been confirmed by the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.
I demand that you immediately stop all recovery action and that you return all monies that I have paid.
Should you persist with your action and refuse to refund the money, I will see a solicitor and seek restitution of costs from you."
You will need to give as much detail as you can of PCN numbers and any payments that you have made.
If you do this by email or letter then copy it to your MP.
AS WELL AS THE ABOVE =
# IF YOU ARE AT THE RECOVERY ORDER STAGE BUT ARE NOT YET BEING CHASED BY BAILIFFS=
You need to look at our Stage Four advice for people who have received TE3 recovery orders. Can you use any of the grounds on the TE9 form, or the ground that they do not mention which is that you did not receive a Charge Certificate?
# IF YOU ARE BEING CHASED BY BAILIFFS
If it reaches this stage, then follow our Stage Five advice.
If you have not already done so then see if the TE9 and TE7 forms apply and send them off.
Look to see if you are 'vulnerable'. If so then tell Merseyflow in writing.
Keep the bailiffs out of your home. Do not speak to them except to tell them that you have sent the TE forms off, or have sent a 'vulnerable' letter, or to point out that this is all illegal.
# IF YOU HAVE ALREADY GIVEN THE BAILIFFS MONEY OR SIGNED SOMETHING
Do not give them any more money. Do not speak to them again except to tell them that you either sent the TE forms off, or have sent a 'vulnerable' letter, or to point out that this is all illegal.
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Phone- 01928 878 878
Post- Merseyflow, PO BOX 327, Runcorn, WA7 9DW
Walk in centre- Howard Court, Manor Park, Runcorn, WA7 1SJ
Website - Merseyflow.
Traffic Penalty Tribunal
Phone- 0800 160 1999
Post- Traffic Penalty Tribunal, Springfield House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5BG
Website - Traffic Penalty Tribunal.
Traffic Enforcement Centre (part of Northampton County Court)
Phone- 0300 123 1059
Post- Traffic Enforcement Centre, St Katharine's House, 21-27 St Katharine's Street, Northampton, NN1 2LH
Website - NONE
TEC forms -
Download TE9 forms - Witness statement for unpaid penalty charge.
Download TE7 forms - Application to file a statement out of time.
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CASE HISTORY ONE - FIRST PCN
Some Scrap Mersey Tolls members have crossed without paying a toll for the purpose of contesting the tolls through the Penalty process. This describes what happened when John McGoldrick crossed in late April and did not pay.
25 April 2018 crossed Mersey Gateway for Open meeting of Scrap Mersey tolls at Millbrow club in Widnes. Did not pay.
6 May 2018 Received a PCN dated 4 May.
7 May 2018 Made a representation online, as per our Stage 1 advice.
1 June 2018 Got letter from Merseyflow dated 25 May with offer to not pursue the penalty if the £2 toll is paid.
4 June 2018 Emailed a letter to Merseyflow declining the offer.
Emails . One back from Merseyflow. One replying to that and suggesting that what they said was incorrect and contrary to the regulations. And a last one to them on 3 July. They did not reply or take any further action to enforce the toll or penalty.
CASE HISTORY TWO - PAYING TOLL AND TRYING TO GET A REFUND
14 June 2018 crossed Mersey Gateway for protest at official 'opening' by the Queen in Widnes.
15 June 2018 Paid the toll online. Payment receipt.
14 July 2018 Letter demanding refund which was handed into Merseyflow office in Runcorn as part of a protest- "Mersey Gateway bosses insist there's no loophole and no getting your money back" SMT press release.
16 July 2018 Letter from Merseyflow refusing refunds.
CASE HISTORY THREE - SECOND PCN
This describes what happened when John McGoldrick crossed in July and did not pay.
13 July 2018, the day that Halton issued their statement on tolls and refunds. Crossed Mersey Gateway for ITV interview at the Catalyst. Did not pay.
27 July 2018 Received a PCN dated 25 July.
1 August 2018 Made a representation online as per our Stage 1 advice.
6 September 2018 Got Notice of Rejection from Merseyflow dated 3 September, with offer not to pursue the penalty if the £2 toll is paid.
7 September 2018 Appealed online to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal as per our Stage 2 advice, saying that would add evidence at a later date. Got an email acknowledgement from the Tribunal.
Next day got another email from the Tribunal, it included-
"Your appeal has been registered and the authority has confirmed the details.
What happens next?
They will now decide whether to contest your appeal.
How long will this take?
We have asked them to do this within 14 days."
10 September 2018 Merseyflow sent a message to Tribunal
"The Council had in place a valid and legal power to charge and enforce tolls on the Mersey Gateway Bridge from 14 October 2017. The 2018 Order also provides a valid and legal power to charge and enforce charges (which are described here as "tolls") on the Mersey Gateway Bridge from 19 April 2018. All vehicles using the Mersey Gateway Bridge on or after the 19 April 2018 are required to pay a toll unless exempt or they benefit from the Halton Local User Discount Scheme (LUDS). Any suggestion that the Council has no power to charge or enforce tolls or that the Council is acting “illegally” is misleading, inaccurate and wrong in law.
On 03/09/2018 the appellant was sent a letter offering the chance to pay the outstanding £2.00 as full settlement of the PCN. This offer is still valid until 17/09/2018 and if the appellant wishes to pay they can do so by calling our contact centre on 01928 878878."
17 September 2018 Submitted two evidence documents to Tribunal- Background The April 2018 Charging Order and indicated that there were more to come.
21 September 2018 (that's 14 days after start of appeal) got a message from the Tribunal saying "The authority has decided not to contest your appeal. This means that you have won your appeal and the case is closed......."
This was on the Decisions page for this appeal-
Mr John McGoldrick, the authority has not contested your appeal, and you are not liable to pay the penalty charge.
You do not have to pay the penalty charge.
This is because the charging authority did not contest your appeal.
We will be non contesting this case. We have decided this as the charges and Penalty Charge Notices relate to road user charging orders under the Transport Act 2000, which the Council considers to be validly and properly made and which thousands of people using the Mersey Gateway respect. However the Council considers that the Penalty Charge Notice having reference XMxxxxxxxx should be cancelled because:
The time limit for challenging the orders has elapsed a considerable time ago, and the use of appeals as a means to challenge orders which are contributing to public funds is not appropriate;
The submissions made by the recipient of the Penalty Charge Notices contain a large number of representations, none of which are accepted by the Council, but each of which would need to be addressed by legal submissions; and
The Council considers that deploying public resources to indulge an inappropriate use of the appeal process is not justified in this case.
25 September 2018 Received an undated letter from Merseyflow. "We are pleased to inform you that there are no further charges outstanding and no further action will be taken against you in respect of this/these PCN(s)."
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