A CITY’S congestion charge is set to return next month, it has been announced.

Durham’s city centre toll charge has been suspended while works on the £5.25m Heart of the City regeneration scheme were completed.

However, the £2 fee for driving onto the peninsula will return on Monday, August 29.

Instead of the controversial rising bollard used since the toll was introduced in October 2002, the system will be policed using automatic number plate recognition cameras.

These will be switched on on Monday, July 25, but the charge will not come into effect for a further month, to allow time for residents, businesses and organisations in the area to register exempt vehicles.

Councillor Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, said the council wanted to reduce traffic in the area and make it more enjoyable for pedestrians; but this must be balanced with the needs of local people, businesses and visitors and the environment.

He urged everyone to use the first month to ensure they understood the system before the charge returns.

The system will work using cameras mounted on the corner of Saddler Street and Claypath. Registered number plates will be ignored, while those which have not been pre-paid or registered exempt will be charged £2.

Fines of up to £30 will be imposed for non-payment. For full details, visit durham.gov.uk