Dartford Crossing charge helps keep traffic down, says government
The Government has said it has “no plans” to remove the charge for drivers using the Dartford Crossing.
An official response was given after an online petition asking for tolls to be abolished garnered more than 27,000 signatures, all of whom received the government email.
The petition notes that under the “original agreement”, fees were to be scrapped in 2003 once the cost of the bridge was covered by charges.
The response read: “Government has no plans to remove the road user charge at the Dartford Crossing which exists to manage demand. Without charges, traffic volumes would increase and additional congestion would occur.
“The Dartford charge is not a toll for to pay for the infrastructure but a charge the Government has set at levels which manage demand.
“The crossing was designed to handle up to 135,000 vehicle movements each day, but currently it is not uncommon for 160,000 to occur.
“Research undertaken in 2001 into the impacts of lifting the tolls indicated that traffic volumes could rise by 17 per cent.
“The standard charges have not increased since they were last revised with the introduction of the Dartford Free Flow Charging Scheme in 2014, an investment which has improved the road user experience by removing the need for users to stop at barriers to pay the charges.
“The Government is investing in the new Lower Thames Crossing will connect Kent and Essex through a tunnel beneath the River Thames and high quality road connections between important existing routes A2, M25and A13.
“This addresses the demands for road capacity of an expanding economy by doubling cross river road capacity in the Thames east of London.
“To improve the situation over the next few years at the Dartford Thurrock Crossing and surrounding roads, the Department for Transport (DfT)is investing £10 million to contribute to a wider package of interventions to reduce congestion through traffic flow and safety measures.
“This investment is aimed at improving traffic flow at individual junctions; enhancing weather resilience; and better management of dangerous goods and over-height vehicles.
“Highways England continues to look for ways to improve performance and reduce congestion at the Crossing.”
The Lower Thames Crossing recently saw tens of thousands of people respond on the £6.8 billion project as part of a wide consultation on its development.
It is expected to be completed by 2027.