A CALL is being made for Bolton Council to end its support for an "unspecified" congestion charge.

The motion will be debated by councillors tonight after being tabled by Cllr David Wilkinson, the Liberal Democrat highways spokesman.

Cllr Wilkinson, a Bolton representative on the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Authority, is angry councillors have still not received details of the proposals.

A bid by the GMPTA to the Government for £1 billion to spend on public transport improvements for the region must include proposals for the controversial charge.

The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, which includes Bolton and nine other councils, has backed the principle of a congestion charge. But it would only be implemented after transport improvements are in place.

However, Trafford, Rochdale and Stockport Councils have withdrawn their support, saying they have been left in the dark about the details of the congestion charging scheme.

Cllr Wilkinson's motion to a full meeting of Bolton Council says: "Despite a promise of full consultation, the Labour leadership of the GMPTA and AGMA is refusing to give any details of the proposed congestion charge until mid-May - conveniently after the local elections.

"This council resolves to withdraw support for an unspecified congestion charging scheme for Greater Manchester and asks the leader of the council and our representatives on the GMPTA to convey this to their respective bodies."

Cllr Wilkinson fears the proposals will arrive too late for councillors to debate the details at a full council meeting and suggest changes, with the bid due in to the Government by the end of July.

His call has won the support of Conservative highways spokesman Cllr John Walsh, whose party opposes the principle of congestion charging.

Cllr Walsh said: "The sentiment of the motion is sound but proper investment in the transport system should come from mainstream taxation, not a stealth tax like the congestion charge.

"We hear as much as £10 million has been spent on this bid to the Government, which may or may not get support. But the public has been offered very little consultation and it is a hurried process. There's not even been much council consultation besides senior members."

Cllr Nick Peel, Labour's Bolton representative on the GMPTA, said a special full council meeting could be arranged to debate the proposals if necessary.

He said: "Nobody would support an unspecified congestion charge. But we can't expect work on these proposals to be cut short just because there's an election coming up.

"Everybody would say yes' to £1 billion in improvements to public transport and as elected members we can take a mandate to bid to the Government for that money."

The GMPTA will make a recommendation to AGMA on the proposals which will have the final say on the bid.

Cllr Peel said he remained unclear about how much detail the congestion charge proposals would contain and whether they would include areas, roads and prices.

In Bolton, roads subject to the congestion charge could include Wigan Road, Blackburn Road, Bury Road, Tonge Moor Road and the A666 St Peter's Way.

The congestion charge would cost less than the £8 London charge. Satellite tracking, electronic tagging and licence-plate recognition technology all being considered.