WIRRAL people should be allowed up to 300 free journeys a year through the Mersey Tunnels.

That’s the demand to be put to next week’s meeting of the full Wirral Council, which also will be asked to set up an urgent meeting with Merseytravel bosses to discuss the idea.

The public travel organisation’s budget board agreed a 10p hike in tunnel tolls last month, which town hall Conservatives say is an unfair burden on the borough’s motorists.

In a notice of motion, they say discount schemes and free crossings for local residents already exist in other parts of the country on toll routes.

Tories believe regular tunnel users should be “rewarded” with a discount scheme similar to that announced for the Mersey Gateway Bridge at Runcorn, with up to 300 free journeys per year.

The notice by Cllr Les Rowlands  goes on to request the leader of the council and chief executive write to the director general of Merseytravel requesting an urgent meeting.

Councillor Rowlands said if tunnel tolls cannot be abolished, a local-user discount scheme should urgently be considered“to ease the burden on the hard-pressed motorists of Wirral.”

All Wirral members of the Merseytravel board voted against the increase in February.

The Tory demand for reduced tolls for local people echoes a call made by Wirral Merseytravel delegate and former Labour leader Cllr Steve Foulkes, who pressed for discounts to be introduced.

However, chairman Cllr Liam Robinson said at the time: "It is important to view the tunnels as an integrated part of the region's transport network.

"The 10p increase is proportionate and, on balance, is the best decision we can take in very difficult circumstances at this moment.”