A PLEDGE to give Bolton residents their say on congestion charges has been reaffirmed by the leader of Bolton Council.

Cllr Cliff Morris spoke out after it emerged transport minister, Rosie Winterton, is tomorrow due to announce the government will support a £3 billion bid to improve Greater Manchester's transport system.

She is also expected to say the money will only be made available if it is funded by a congestion charge in Manchester - which could eventually lead to similar scheme in Bolton as part of a future roll-out programme.

Cllr Morris said: "Our position is exactly the same as it was. We'll see what's in the announcement and what's in it for Bolton, then we'll make a decision."

He said the council would poll every resident in Bolton about the congestion charge proposals, and added that the council would not support any scheme that charged drivers entering Bolton.

Cllr Morris said that he would like any money from the scheme to be spent on a new rail interchange and improved bus and train services for Bolton.

He added: "We want to make it easier for people to use public transport."

The Manchester charge, which will apply to drivers entering the city at peak times, would affect thousands Bolton residents who commute to work every day.

Drivers are likely to be charged in two zones, one bounded by the M60 and another in the city centre. Motorists commuting into the city centre could face charges of up to £5 a day if the scheme goes ahead.

The Department of Transport confirmed that a decision on the bid was expected "shortly" but declined to say whether it would be approved.

If it is, it would be the first large-scale congestion charging system outside London.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "Congestion is bad for businesses and people's quality of life.

"We are making £200m a year available through the Transport Innovation Fund for councils who want to tackle local congestion by making improvements to public transport as well as managing the demands on their roads.

"Greater Manchester has submitted a bid for this fund, which we will announce a decision on shortly. This decision will be communicated to Parliament first."