MOTORING experts have raised concerns that the congestion charge scheme proposed for Greater Manchester is already being extended.

Salford Council leader John Merry wants the original two-zone road charging plan for drivers heading to Manchester to have a third zone running around the city centre.

Roy Sammons, chairman of the Bolton Institute of Advanced Motorists, said a move would erode trust in the politicians pushing for the scheme's introduction, He claimed drivers would be suspicious that whatever plans were put forward initially, they would be further altered in later years to the detriment of motorists.

Millions of leaflets have been sent out to households in Greater Manchester about the scheme, showing people would pay 2 to drive into an outer zone bordered by the M60 ring road.

There would be a further levy of 1 to drive into another zone closer to the city centre.

But as a six-week consultation exercise into the whole scheme gets under way, details of the suggested third ring have been revealed.

Cllr Merry wants the third ring around the city centre itself, following the line of the A57M inner relief road Mr Sammons said: "I'm disgusted that all these leaflets have been sent out and now they are talking about changing it already.

"This just shows that you can't trust the politicians or the departments who are working behind them.

"We don't know what could happen in future or what this will mean for Bolton.

"The congestion charge will have a dramatic effect, and it is unpredictable until the plan becomes a reality."

If the congestion charging scheme goes ahead, a new interchange for buses and trains could be built in Bolton as part of a 3 billion scheme to improve the region's public transport. It would see the Moor Lane bus terminal moved to land close to the Trinity Street train station.

Cllr Nick Peel, a member of Bolton Council Transport Infrastructure Fund working group, said: "As far as I am aware, a third ring is not part of the plans being submitted to the Government for the 3 billion funding.

"We did not want a system that would become complicated."