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  1. ITV Report

Dart Charge fines 1.5million drivers in 9 months under new charging system

The Dartford Crossing stopped taking cash payments one year ago Photo: ITV

It's one year to the day since the Dartford Crossing stopped taking cash payments. It's meant quicker journey times, but it's come with a sting in the tail for many drivers.

Between January and the end of September, more than 1.5 million penalty charge notices were issued to UK drivers for non-payment of the crossing charge. Almost 300,000 were sent to drivers from abroad.

And for some, trying to get these fines overturned has been a long battle.

Dr Joginder Dhillon is among tens of thousands of drivers who've challenged their fine. He's a retired GP and paid the Dart Charge at a shop in Folkestone in March before he went up to London.

But in May, he received a penalty charge notice. He's since written three letters, two emails and rung the Dart Charge call centre three times. But the only response he's had is a letter increasing his fine from £70 to £105.

But there's no sign of his fine being overturned yet. And motoring groups are warning that many drivers are not paying the charge simply because they don't understand the new system. Edmund King, President of the AA, said that many people are confused by the signs.

In a statement, Dart Charge project director Nigel Gray said the new charging system is successfully speeding up journeys.

"We know that there is more work to do, especially working with our partners in Kent to improve local traffic flow on the approaches to the crossing," he said.

"But today, exactly one year after it went live, it is important to recognise that Dart Charge is doing what it is supposed to: successfully reducing congestion at this vitally important transport link.”

It is important to recognise that Dart Charge is doing what it is supposed to: successfully reducing congestion

– Dart Charge project director Nigel Gray

You can watch Abigail Bracken's full report below.