TWO posters by congestion charge opponents have been banned following a complaint.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said they were potentially misleading, and should not be used in future campaigns.

The banners are the work of Manchester Against Road Tolls (MART), who say the proposed charges are a tax on people going to work.

Bury Council recently became the third in Greater Manchester to oppose the charge, which is part of the £3 billion Transport Innovation Fund bid for public transport investment.

The ASA acted after a supporter of Clean Air Now, a coalition which supports congestion charging, complained about four MART posters: a) "Just pay up and keep quiet. We Know Best. Tagged, Tracked and Taxed. The Toll Tax".

b) "On Yer Bike Nurses, Firemen, Teachers. Manchester Motorists: Tagged, Tracked and Taxed".

c) "STOP MOANING. WHAT'S £5 A DAY. The Toll Tax: Keeps the roads free for the rich".

d) "£5 a day won't even buy me a cigar. The Toll Tax: Keeps the roads free for the rich."

The complainant said the phrase "just pay up..." implied that the charge was being brought in against the wishes of motorists and without their views being taken into account, whereas he believed that there had been extensive public consultation.

Also, the phrase "tagged, tracked and taxed" was misleading, because although cars would carry a tag, there would not be continuous monitoring of their position.

And finally, he said that references to £5 a day were misleading, because not everyone would pay that.

In their defence, MART said that motorists had not been specifically consulted, and that certain council leaders had ignored independent surveys which showed that people were against the charging scheme. The "official" survey had asked only 5,000 people out of 2.5 million in the region.

MART also cited official reports which had suggested using satellites to track vehicles under road pricing measures. They also pointed out that all reports had referred to a typical charge of £5 a day for a return trip to work through the two proposed charging zones.

In its judgement, the ASA dismissed the complaints about posters (a) and (b). It said the "just pay up" remarks in poster (a) were obviously partisan and unlikely to mislead.

On the "tagging" claims in both posters, the ASA said drivers would be tracked, at least when they entered and left the charging zones, and possibly by continuous monitoring by satellite in future.

However, the ASA upheld the third and final complaint about posters (c) and (d).

Although £5 a day might be the average price in practice, or even more, it was not possible to determine this yet.

Because the posters did not make clear that £5 a day was the current maximum proposed charge under the scheme, the ASA concluded that the ads could mislead. It said the two posters should not re-appear in their current form.