Penalty charges and debt recovery

Mersey Gateway is a toll bridge. It is paid for by people who use it.

Unfortunately, there are a small number of people – less than 0.5% of all customers – who don’t pay either their toll fee on time or their penalty charge within 42 days of it being issued.

It is only fair to the huge majority of people who pay on time that we collect the debt from people who persistently don't pay.

There is a sliding scale of penalty charges for people who don’t pay the toll on time. This starts at £20 plus the original toll fee and increases over time if you don’t pay promptly.

If you have received a PCN from merseyflow and want to pay, you can pay your PCN online here.

The table below shows the costs:
Time taken to pay Cost of penalty charge
Within 14 days of PCN's date of service £20 plus unpaid toll fee
Within 28 days of PCN's date of service £40 plus unpaid toll fee
Within 42 days of PCN's date of service £60 plus unpaid toll fee
Beyond 42 days of PCN's date of service

The penalty is registered as a civil debt.

Recovery action will begin and enforcement agents may be instructed.

The precise cost could run into hundreds of pounds depending on the cost of recovering the debt.

Anyone who receives a PCN and thinks it has been sent in error can make a representation online here.


Recovery notice

If a customer hasn’t paid the full outstanding balance within 42 days, it will be registered as a civil debt with the County Court.

If this happens to you, you will be sent an Order of Recovery notice in the post. This will add an extra £8 in court fees to your debt for each outstanding penalty charge notice.

At this stage, the debt is still payable to merseyflow and payment instructions are included on the Order of Recovery notices as they are issued.


If, after a further 21 days, a customer still hasn’t paid, the debt will be passed to Marston Holdings, our appointed debt enforcement partners, who will act to recover the debt.

The costs to anyone who still hasn’t paid by this stage can increase significantly the longer they choose not to pay.

At this stage, the debt is now handled by Marston Holdings. Anyone receiving a notice of enforcement in the post from Marston Holdings will need to pay their debt to them, not to merseyflow.

Marston Holdings is a UK-based company that enforces debts in accordance with the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. You can read more about Marston Holdings, the enforcement process and statutory fees on its website.

You can read more in our FAQ section on penalty charges and debt recovery.

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