A CAMPAIGN group has expressed its shock that a council invited the Queen to be associated with the “terrible” Mersey Gateway bridge scheme.

Her Majesty is due to officially open the new bridge alongside Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, tomorrow (Thursday, June 14).

But at the same time the Scrap Mersey Tolls group is planning to hold a protest against the tolls imposed by Halton Council.

The fees have led some to dub the Mersey Gateway the ‘Dick Turpin Bridge’ after the famous thief and highwayman.

John McGoldrick from the group said: "We are amazed that the local council invited the Queen to be associated with this terrible scheme. They knew back in February that their tolls operation was possibly illegal. We are also surprised that her advisers did not make her aware of the controversy.

"The tolling of the old and new bridges is extremely unpopular with some drivers having to pay over £1,000 a year to use what was previously a free crossing point. It is the first time that there has been tolling of a previously free crossing in the UK, and the Royal Family should not have been associated with it.

"The council's agents, a Spanish owned company, are issuing penalties at the rate of 800,000 a year. Many of those are issued by mistake and they all cause aggravation to the drivers who receive them.

"To cap it all we are in the unique situation that in February the Traffic Penalty Tribunal reached the decision that the tolls and penalties are unenforceable. Following an appeal by the council for a review that decision was confirmed last month.

“Despite that judgement the council are still enforcing the tolls and penalties and are refusing to repay any of the millions that they have collected from drivers.

"Instead of giving this scheme her endorsement, the Queen should have been sending in the Yeoman of the Guard to close down the tolls operation."

The campaigners will be starting their protest at 9am near the junction of Waterloo Road and Upper Mersey Road.