BOLTON is continuing to back plans to introduce congestion charging despite three Greater Manchester councils pulling their support.

Trafford, Rochdale and Stockport councils claim they have been left in the dark over the proposals.

But Cllr Cliff Morris, leader of Bolton Council, branded them political opportunists, accusing them of taking cheap political shots at the controversial charges which are likely to be introduced on the main routes into Manchester.

Motorists will be charged by the mile if the scheme gets the go-ahead.

Cllr Morris said: "I don't know what they are being kept in the dark about because no details of the scheme have been published. All the councils are in the same position. These councils are either Conservative or Lib-Dem controlled and are simply playing politics."All the councils met and backed the idea in principal but nobody has endorsed it because the final details have not been published. These councils can not and have nothing to back out of."

All 10 local authorities met recently to discuss the idea which would target the 15 roads into Manchester with the greatest congestion. Trafford, Rochdale and Stockport are the only non-Labour local authorities in Greater Manchester In Bolton, the routes could include Wigan Road, Blackburn Road, Bury Road, Tonge Moor Road and the A666 St Peter's Way.

The move has caused outrage among commuters and lead to a petition against the charges.

Cllr Morris said: "The idea was backed with the proviso that we had improvements in public transport. Without the proper infrastructure none of us will back the scheme. That has been made clear from the start."

Under the plans, the congestion charge would cost less than the £8 London charge and motorist would pay by the mile.

Satellite tracking, electronic tagging and licence plate recognition technology are being considered as methods of charging.

Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive have said authorities would receive detailed information by the end of next month.

The Government is expected to make a decision on the introducing a congestion charge in July following a public consultation.