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Issue:- Sunday, 31 January 2016

Headlines and reports on this page = 4 news items.    Page - 9.

Tunnel toll review group recommendations to help local users save

MERSEY Tunnels users could save £5 a week under new proposals that are set to benefit people living and working locally.

A task group set up in February 2015 at the request of the Combined Authority to review the toll setting process and its impact on infrastructure and transportation has put forward recommendations that have informed the toll charging proposals for 2016/17.

The proposals, outlined in a report published on Wednesday, 27 January 2016, will be considered by the Merseytravel Committee on 4 February 2016 followed by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority on 5 February 2016. They include:-

A freeze on cash tolls; keeping it £1.70 for car users for the third consecutive year, with freezes for other classes of vehicles too.

► An Increase in Fast Tag discount of 20p for car users, with proportionate discounts for other types of vehicles. This reduces the Fast Tag toll for car users to £1.20 to 50p cheaper than paying the cash toll. This means that a commuter switching to Fast Tag from cash toll could save £5 a week.

► All emergency services liveried vehicles to be allowed free travel through the Mersey Tunnels.

► Free travel through the Mersey Tunnels between 10pm on 24 December 2016 and 6am on 26 December 2016, recognising that alternative public transport options aren't available during these times.

This proposal is the 1st part of the review process for the Mersey Tunnels toll and discussions will continue through the task group to consider options over the longer term.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said:- "These proposals reflect our commitment to offering tunnel users the best deal we can; now and into the future. I am hoping our future discussions on tolling can come up with even better value for users."

Councillor Phil Davies, Leader of Wirral Council, said:- "While we would still like to overturn the Mersey Tunnels Act to give local residents full control over the setting of tolls, in the meantime, we are reducing the weekly cost of a Fast Tag by £2 a week for commuters, and freezing the cash tolls for visitors and occasional users."

Councillor Liam Robinson, Chair of the Merseytravel Committee, said:- "Fast Tags are available to everyone, but we know they are especially valued by local residents and local businesses who we know use the tunnels most frequently. Targeting discounts through the Fast Tag scheme is the best way to help regular and local users. The savings for even infrequent users are still significant at the rates of discount we hope to be able to offer next year. I would urge all tunnel users to consider Fast Tag even if they are not using the tunnels every day."

The full report to the Merseytravel Committee, to be considered on 4 February 2016, can be read online.

Appeal for witnesses following injury shooting in Fazakerley

MERSEYSIDE Police have confirmed that Officers attended, along with other Emergency Services, Manica Crescent, in Fazakerley, at around 7.15pm, following reports that a man had been shot, on Monday, 25 January 2016. The victim is reported to have been a 46 year old man, who had been been taken to hospital, where was treated for shotgun wounds to his legs and arms. At this early stage of the investigation the motive for the attack is unknown, although it is believed to be targeted. Witnesses are being spoken to, house to house enquiries are being carried out and CCTV from the area is being sought in a bid to identify the offenders. Crime scene investigators have attended the scene and carrying out forensic examinations. Detectives from the specialist Matrix Serious Organised Crime Team are urging anyone who witnessed the incident, or who has any information which could help with their inquiries, to contact the gun crime hotline on:- 0800 230 0600 or Crimestoppers charity anonymously on:- 0800 555 111.

15 year old pleads guilty to the rape and ABH

MERSEYSIDE Police have confirmed that a 15 year old male has pleaded guilty to the rape and actual bodily harm of a 20 year old woman, in an incident that took place in Melling, on Thursday, 10 December 2015. The male will now appear at Liverpool Crown Court for sentencing, on Wednesday, 27 April 2016.

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