I live in Halton - FAQs

  1. How much will it cost Halton residents to cross the bridges?
  2. How do I know if I am eligible for the local user discount scheme?
  3. How were council tax band eligibility criteria chosen?
  4. How do I register with merseyflow?
  5. How do I renew my Local User Discount Scheme plan?
  6. What documents will I need to provide to register?
  7. How many vehicles can I register?
  8. Do I have to register?
  9. What happens if I don’t register?
  10. How much will it cost for me to register?
  11. Does the local user discount scheme apply to taxis or driving instructors’ vehicles?
  12. If I move house or change my car will I need to re-register?
  13. I use local buses to cross the river in Halton. Will the price of my bus ticket go up as a result of tolls?
  14. What is Halton Council’s economic hardship fund?
  15. How can I check what my council tax band is?
  16. What happens if my sticker is stolen?
  17. Do I have to pay for a replacement sticker if mine is damaged, lost or stolen?
  18. Both my partner and I will be registering our own cars Local User Discount Scheme because we are separate registered keepers. Once we have registered can either person drive either car free of charge over the bridges?
  19. I live in Halton with my partner. We have two vehicles both registered in my partners name. Can we register them both for the local user discount scheme?
  20. I only have an old-style (non-photo) driving licence. Will that be accepted as suitable proof when applying for the local user discount scheme?
  21. The website says Halton residents can only register one vehicle. However, I’m a resident and own two cars, what options are available to me?
  22. If I qualify for the local users discount scheme and move house within the borough, do I have to pay the annual registration charge again?
  23. If I qualify for local users discount scheme and change my car, but not my registration plate, do I have to pay the annual registration charge again?
  24. If I register for the local user discount scheme this summer, does 12 months run from the date the new bridge opens?
  25. I’m a resident of Halton and would like to register my car, but the car is leased so I don’t have a V5C form – can I still apply?
  26. I’m a resident of Halton and I meet all the criteria but I drive a company car so I don’t have a V5C form – can I still apply?
  27. As a Halton resident who is registered for the Local User Discount Scheme, how do I declare and pay for any business trips?
  28. I live in Halton but don't have a UK Driving Licence, can I still register for the local user discount scheme?
  29. My council tax bill is in someone else's name – am I still eligible to register my car for the local user discount scheme?
  30. My Halton Resident plan is about to expire – what should I do?
  31. What happens if I don’t renew my Halton Resident plan?

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How much will it cost Halton residents to cross the bridges?

Eligible Halton residents can pay a £10 annual admin fee and then make as many personal trips as they like across the river at no extra cost.

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How do I know if I am eligible for the Local User Discount Scheme?

The vast majority of Halton residents are eligible for the Local User Discount Scheme. To qualify you must be able to provide evidence that you meet all three criteria below:

  1. either: (a) be registered with Halton Borough Council as living in a property in Halton with a Council Tax Band of A, B, C, D, E or F; or (b) be registered with Halton Borough Council as living in a property in Halton with a Council Tax Band of G and H and successfully apply to the council to be included in the Halton residents’ discount scheme as a result of economic hardship* or other special circumstances.
  2. be the holder of a valid and current UK drivers licence and be driving a car or a small van** (motorbikes travel for free).
  3. be the registered keeper according to the DVLA of a vehicle registered in Halton. Equivalent proof that you are the keeper of the vehicle on an exclusive basis will be required for vehicles that are leased or company cars.
  • Halton residents who have a disability but are not eligible for a Blue Badge and whose disability prevents them from driving, are able to register a vehicle to benefit from unlimited crossings under the Local User Discount Scheme when they are travelling in the vehicle. To qualify you must be in receipt of one of the following: the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance; Attendance Allowance; Enhanced rate of the mobility component of the Personal Independence Allowance; and/or the War Pensioners Mobility Supplement.  The nominated driver/vehicle does not need to reside within the Halton Borough, however, any crossings made when the disabled resident is not present, will need to be declared and paid for. A £10 annual fee applies.

*If you are a Halton resident who is not eligible for the Local User Discount Scheme you may qualify for help through Halton Council’s Local User Discount Support Scheme.

**A small van is a van that weighs less than 3.5 tonnes. Please see our tolling costs table for a more detailed breakdown of vehicle classes.

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How were council tax band eligibiity criteria chosen?

The basis of the scheme was discussed as part of the Project’s Public Inquiry in 2009 and it was determined the scheme should be based on socio economic criteria.

The Transport and Works Act Order 2011, which gives legal effect to a number of matters in respect of Mersey Gateway, makes such a reference, in Part 5 section 42(12).

It states: “Where any scheme of discounts or waivers is proposed in respect of tolls payable or prospectively payable under this Order the undertaker shall in deciding to adopt or apply any such scheme have regard to the most appropriate way of providing the benefits of such a scheme to those socio-economic groups within the Borough of Halton least able to afford the full price of tolls.”

Following legal advice, the Council deemed Council Tax Bands, which are a tried and tested method of determining a family’s means, as the most appropriate economic hardship criteria.

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How do I register with merseyflow?

The quickest way to register is online,  but  you can also register in person at our local walk-in centre, or by calling the team on 01928 878 878.  Make sure you have your three registration documents with you if you plan to register in person.  If you are registering by phone or the website you will need to provide us with copies of these documents, these can be uploaded to the website, or emailed to us at the following address: info@merseyflow.co.uk.

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How do I renew my Local User Discount Scheme plan?

For details on how to renew your plan click here.

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What documents will I need to provide to register?

In order to apply for the local user discount scheme you will need to upload three documents, each showing the same address in Halton, to prove where you live and that you qualify for the scheme:

  • your current driving licence
  • your current Halton council tax bill (a copy bill can be obtained by emailing Council.Tax@halton.gov.uk)
  • your V5C vehicle registration form.

What documents do I need to provide to apply under the local user discount scheme with disabilities?

 
  • To apply under the Local User Discount Scheme with Disabilities, please call 01928 878 878 or call into the Walk-in Centre to register as you must provide proof of the above along with  proof that you are in receipt of one of the following; the higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Enhanced rate of mobility component of the Personal Independence Allowance and/or the War Pensioners Mobility Supplement, you must also provide a copy of your Halton Council tax bill, the V5C of the nominated vehicle and the driving licence of the nominated driver. 
Please note: no other documents can be accepted.
 
  • If you are applying online you will need to upload photos or scanned copies.
  • If you are applying in person you will need to take these documents with you to our local walk-in centre.
  • If your documents have not been received after 14 days of the plan being set-up, this will show as the account pending and this could result in the vehicle being removed and the account closed.

 

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How many vehicles can I register?

You can only register one vehicle per person for the local user discount scheme. Where there are several qualifying residents all living at the same address e.g. parents with grown-up children who have their own car, each one of them will be able to register a vehicle.

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Do I have to register?

Yes – if you are a Halton resident applying for the local user discount scheme. If you don’t apply and successfully register for the scheme you will have to pay the full unregistered toll fee.

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What happens if I don’t register?

If you don’t register you will have to pay the full unregistered toll – £2 per one way trip (for a car or small van) – every time you cross the river.

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How much will it cost for me to register?

Halton residents will need to pay a £10 annual administration fee to register with merseyflow.

This £10 annual fee covers the cost of checking the details of your registration. As eligible Halton residents get a special discount which is not available to people who live outside the borough, we need to check that only people who qualify for the scheme get the discount.

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Does the local user discount scheme apply to taxis or driving instructors’ vehicles?

Yes – if taxi drivers or driving instructors who meet the other criteria for the local user discount scheme are using their vehicles for private journeys then they can register for the scheme for private journeys only. All commercial trips across the river undertaken by either taxi drivers or driving instructors registered with the local user discount scheme must be declared and paid for.

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If I move house or change my car will I need to re-register?

Yes. If you move house or change your car you will need to let us know. If you change address or your registered vehicle you will have to re-supply your new details and pay a £10 administration fee. Once you have successfully re-registered, your new registration will be valid for 12 months.

If you are planning to change your vehicle before your annual Local User Discount needs to be renewed, we would advise not to register your current vehicle early. Account stickers cannot be transferred between vehicles so if you renew early, then change your car, an additional £10 administration charge will apply.

Please be aware that your new vehicle must be registered correctly ahead of travel in order to receive the discount. If you use your old vehicle after the annual discount has expired before you have registered your new vehicle, you will be liable to pay the toll and could receive a penalty charge notice for non-payment.

 

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I use local buses to cross the river in Halton. Will the price of my bus ticket go up as a result of tolls?

No. Local bus services will not have to pay a toll to cross the Silver Jubilee Bridge*. Halton Council wants to encourage more people to use public transport services in Halton.

*Whilst the Silver Jubilee Bridge is closed for refurbishment local buses will be able to travel for free across the new Mersey Gateway Bridge.

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What is Halton Council’s Local User Discount Support Scheme?

Halton Borough Council acknowledges that there could be residents of Halton who live in a house in Council Tax band G or above that are on a low income.

To alleviate any potential hardship, the council has created a Local User Support Scheme for residents of Halton who reside in such houses when their Household Income* is below the Benefits Cap:**

This Halton Council scheme will enable qualifying Halton residents to apply to have unlimited use of the bridges in the same way as those eligible for Local User Discount Scheme.

Halton residents who wish to apply for support through the scheme must prove they:

  • live in a household in Halton where the total household income* is below the level of the Benefits Cap**.
  • are the holder of a valid and current UK drivers licence and be driving a car or a small van.
  • are the registered keeper according to the DVLA of a vehicle registered in Halton. Equivalent proof that you are the keeper of the vehicle on an exclusive basis will be required for vehicles that are leased or company cars.
  • are undertaking an apprenticeship and are under 20 years of age and studying for at least 12 hours per week on a course which lasts for more than 3 months for any qualification up to A level, ONC or OND standard. Or if you are in full time education which refers to being enrolled for the purpose of attending a university or college course which lasts for at least 1 academic year, normally requires attendance of at least 24 weeks a year and involves on average at least 21 hours of study, tuition or work experience per week during term time.

If you think you would be eligible to apply for the Local User Discount Support Scheme please contact ludsupport@merseyflow.co.uk to receive an application form or download here.

*The definition of Household Income will be based upon the definition used by Student Finance England to assess household income.

**The Benefit Cap is defined at https://www.gov.uk/benefit-cap/benefit-cap-amounts.

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How can I check what my council tax band is?

Only residents living in Halton properties registered as Council Tax Band A to F are eligible for the Local User Discount Scheme. To check what council tax band your property is, visit: https://www.gov.uk/council-tax-bands.

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What happens if my sticker is stolen?

If the sticker is stolen it won’t work – fraud prevention is built into the system, so it will not provide free crossings or any benefits to anyone who steals a sticker and tries to use it.

The sticker works in conjunction with the ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras and would cause that crossing to drop into our manual review queue, where this will be checked to verify if the vehicle in the image corresponds with the vehicle registered against the sticker.

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Do I have to pay for a replacement sticker if mine is damaged, lost or stolen?

If the sticker is faulty, it will be replaced free of charge. However, if the sticker is damaged, lost or stolen, a £5 replacement fee will apply.

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Both my partner and I will be registering our own cars under the  Local User Discount Scheme because we are separate registered keepers. Once we have registered can either person make unlimited personal trips over the bridges?

Once both vehicles are registered then either of you can drive either car over the bridge to make unlimited personal trips providing you meet all the eligibility criteria.
 

If you and your partner are both residents of Halton and are eligible to register for the local user discount scheme then you will each need to open a merseyflow account. There will be an annual fee of £10 for each vehicle, and this would entitle each of you to register a car, as long as the person applying for the discount is the registered keeper of the vehicle (i.e. their name is on the V5C registration form).

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I live in Halton with my partner. We have two vehicles both registered in my partner's name. Can we register them both for the local user discount scheme?

Under the local user discount scheme only one vehicle can be registered per person.

In this situation, you may want to contact the DVLA to transfer the registration on one of the vehicles into the name of another eligible person living in the same house who also qualifies for the local user discount scheme. That way you will be able to register both vehicles, providing you meet all the other eligibility criteria.

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I only have an old-style (non-photo) driving licence. Will that be accepted as suitable proof when applying for the local user discount scheme?

The old paper licence is valid and will be accepted. However, you must also provide a copy of your council tax bill and your vehicle’s V5C registration document.

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The website says Halton residents can only register one vehicle. However, I’m a resident and own two cars, what options are available to me?

Under the local user discount scheme only one vehicle can be registered per person.

To get the best value you should register the vehicle you use most frequently to cross the river for the local user discount scheme.

If you wanted to register a second vehicle it would need to be under one of the below plans:

  • Sticker account: For a £5 one-off registration fee, you will receive a sticker that is to be displayed in your vehicle. This will save you 10% on the standard cost of each crossing, making it £1.80 for a one way trip in a car or small van.
  • Video account: For a £5 one-off registration fee, you receive a 5% discount so for example, £1.90 for a one way trip in a car or small van. Drivers with vehicles such as HGVs, minibuses and coaches will also be eligible for this account.

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If I qualify for the local users discount scheme and move house within the borough, do I have to pay the annual £10 registration charge again?

Yes – if you move house you will need to let us know your new details and pay another £10 administration fee. Once you have successfully re-registered, your new registration will be valid for 12 months.

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If I qualify for local users discount scheme and change my car, but not my registration plate, do I have to pay the annual £10 registration charge again?

Yes, the cost of changing vehicles, in this case, would be for the administration of amending the vehicle details and to replace the special sticker.

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If I register for the local user discount scheme this summer, does 12 months run from the date the new bridge opens?

Yes, the starting date for your 12-month period will begin on the opening date of the new bridge.

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I’m a resident of Halton and would like to register my car, but the car is leased so I don’t have a V5C form - can I still apply?

Yes. In order to provide evidence that you lease a vehicle, you will need to provide a copy of your lease/hire/rental agreement.

This document must show your name and address and the vehicle registration.

The hire/lease/rental agreement must show the start date and the end date of the agreement, so we know when the vehicle is in your possession.

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I’m a resident of Halton and I meet all the criteria but I drive a company car so I don’t have a V5C form – can I still apply?

Yes, as long as the vehicle is a car or small van and you meet all the other eligibility criteria.

You will need to provide us with a copy of a letter from your employer on company headed note paper that contains the information asked for in this template – i.e.

  • the vehicle registration
  • the company name
  • the company address
  • your name
  • confirmation that the company car must be for your sole use only and is kept at your home address in Halton.

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As a Halton resident who is registered for the Local User Discount Scheme, how do I declare and pay for any business trips?

You can do this by calling merseyflow or going to the walk-in centre, identifying which of your trips were made for business purposes and then paying for them at the discounted ‘sticker rate’ of £1.80 per each way trip.

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I live in Halton but don’t have a UK Driving Licence, can I still register for the local user discount scheme?

Yes – providing you meet all the other qualifying criteria and can supply the other relevant documents. Instead of your driving licence you will need to provide an alternative form of address e.g. a utility bill dated from the last three months.

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My council tax bill is in my partner’s name – am I still eligible to register my car for the local user discount scheme?

Yes - if your Halton council tax bill is in the name of another person that is not a problem – you can still use this to register for the local user discount scheme as long as you meet all the other eligibility criteria. The key thing is that your address matches across all three documents and that the V5C registration form and the driving licence are both in your name.

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My Halton Resident plan is about to expire – what should I do?

You can renew your Halton Resident plan online quickly and easily. It costs £10 a year and we need you to provide us with copies of your current council tax bill, valid driving licence and V5C vehicle registration certificate.  Please follow the instructions in our step-by-step guide for more information.

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What happens if I don’t renew my Halton Resident plan?

If you don’t renew your Halton Resident plan on time then merseyflow will automatically switch your Halton Resident plan to a pre-pay plan and you will have to pay for any journeys you make across the bridge. With your pre-pay plan you will receive a 10% discount on the cost of the full toll for each crossing. The simplest way to ensure your account is in credit is to select the auto top-up option. You can do this by logging in to your merseyflow account and looking at the account information.

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