Saturday, October 3, 2009

Calls Increase to Scrap Dartford Tolls

Thames crossing congestion
Shipping News Feature

UK – In a letter to James Brokenshire, Member of Parliament for Hornchurch, Transport Minister Sadiq Khan has stated that the government is considering scrapping tolls on the southbound part of the M25’s Dartford Crossing between Kent and Essex across the Thames.

The move is being examined so as to improve traffic flow and improve congestion problems at the notoriously busy crossing. The Minister also said that another alternative would be for a new layout to the current toll system with new technology introduced to assist flow.

Mr Brokenshire has been calling for crossing tolls to be scrapped and says that: "The information clearly points to the fact that the tolls themselves are adding to congestion on this piece on the M25.

"It's one of the worst congested roads as anybody who's been driving around in this area for some time will tell you."

The news that the government is considering scrapping the tolls has brought a strong response in favour from road haulage associations in the UK.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has been calling for precisely this measure to be made as it believes that it will significantly reduce southbound commercial delivery times and the associated transport costs.

Gordon Telling, FTA’s Head of Policy for the South East, said:

"With a typical HGV costing £50 an hour to run, anything that can be done to reduce the time a lorry is spent sitting in traffic is good news for hauliers and will also improve air quality in the area.

"Lorry drivers and motorists have to use this crossing as there are no viable alternative routes making the volume of traffic here particularly high. This stretch of the M25 is pretty congested, especially going southbound. So, removing toll plazas – for a crossing that has long-since been paid for anyway – removes a bottleneck that costs businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds a year."

Currently multi-axle vehicles pay £3.70 to use the bridge / tunnel crossing.