James Brokenshire has welcomed news that proposed increases in the toll charges at the Dartford River Crossing have been put on hold. The cost of using the QE2 Bridge and the Dartford Tunnels had been due to increase in November and again next April but the Department for Transport now say that they need more time to consider future arrangements at the Crossing.
James Brokenshire has campaigned for reform of the charging arrangements at the Crossing to cut congestion and ensure that revenues raised are spent on increasing road capacity across the Thames.
Commenting, James said:
“I’m pleased that Ministers are taking time to reflect on the representations received during the recent public consultation on toll charges. I hope it will give them more time to consider the most effective options to improve flows across the Bridge and through the tunnels. I’m sure motorists will welcome the freeze in charges, although I’ve felt for some time that the current toll arrangements are causing rather than cutting congestion. Having been stuck in the tailbacks on numerous occasions, I well appreciate just how frustrating this can be.
“Changes have been introduced to raise the toll barriers when there are extreme traffic hold-ups, but there needs to be a long term solution to the problem. This needs to consider the continuing need for the tolls, the introduction of new technology to collect charges whilst keeping traffic moving and using toll revenues to pursue options for another bridge across the Thames.”
Ministers are expected to announce a final decision on the timing of future toll rises and a full response to the recent public consultation early next year.