Options for a new Thames crossing include a scheme that would pass through "environmentally sensitive areas" and cost up to £5 billion.
Concerns have been raised that plans for cameras to replace toll booths at the Dartford Crossing could leave motorists with huge fines.
Motorists will be fined £105 if they fail to pay tolls at the Dartford Crossing under plans revealed by the Highways Agency.
A new Thames tunnel could drive up the cost to motorists using the Dartford Crossing, according to a council report.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson is behind the proposals for a new tunnel at the Greenwich peninsula, linking it with Silvertown across the river.
A report by Dartford Borough Council raises fears it could put on pressure to increase the cost to cross the Dartford bridge and tunnel to maintain the balance of traffic using each crossing.
The earliest the Silvertown tunnel could open is 2021 and a toll charge is likely to be introduced to fund it. Despite worries the borough council’s report does recommends members support the plans as it could reduce congestion around Dartford.
The Alliance of British Drivers is calling for the tolls at the Dartford crossing to be scrapped completely.
The Government plans to remove the existing barriers by autumn next year but motorists will still have to pay to use the crossing by phone, text or online.
The Alliance says the free-flow charging will cause inconvenience for drivers having to remember to pay and that they risk getting fined if they forget, plus the hassle of running such a system.
The M25 anticlockwise is closed, with stationary traffic at A282 (Dartford River Crossing toll booths).
The tunnel has been closed due to the accident that has blocked the carriageway between J31 and J30.
Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock is appealing for residents to give their views on the proposed changes to the payment system on the Dartford Crossing.
A consultation is currently underway over plans to remove all barriers at the crossing and improve traffic flow.
The removal of the barriers would affect the way payments for using the crossing are taken.
– Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock
“I welcome the proposal to reduce congestion and traffic at the Dartford Crossing. The crossing is a vital piece of infrastructure and I can understand how frustrating it is for motorists to be sitting in traffic while waiting to pay.
“I do however want to ensure that the payment system is fair to all involved. It must be simple and must not be intended to catch people out.
“I would encourage anyone who uses the Dartford Crossing to make their views known to the Highway Agency. It is vital that the road users have a say in how this new system will be managed.”
Severe delays, one lane closed and queueing traffic for ten miles due to accident on M25 clockwise at J1B A282 / A296 Princes Road (Dartford), congestion on M25 to Before J29 A127 (Romford). Only lane four (of four) was open for over an hour, but just lane one closed now.
The queues are back through the toll booths, over the QE2 bridge and back to J29.
The Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment has issued a statement about plans to raise toll prices for the Dratford crossing.
Bryan Sweetland said: “Congestion at the Dartford Crossing and its approaches costs the UK economy some £40million every year and is now a serious hindrance to encouraging economic growth in North Kent.”
"I am concerned that toll charges at the Dartford Crossing are being increased without any improvement to the congestion problems. I am even more concerned that the introduction of ‘free-flow tolling’ has been delayed yet again and is not now planned until the autumn of 2014, when the original date given was late 2012. I would urge the DfT to do all they can to improve on the autumn 2014 date.
“The Government has made a firm commitment to look at the longer term capacity of the crossing and I welcome that.
"Their own statistics show that the crossing was at over capacity for more than two thirds of the year.
"The benefits of an additional Thames crossing would not only help alleviate the severe congestion currently faced by road users, it would also act as a catalyst to unlock much needed investment opportunities in the Thames Gateway region and help boost business and employment prospects in Dartford, Swanley and Gravesend.
– Bryan Sweetland, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste
“However, to put this into perspective, as things stand at the moment, my granddaughter who starts nursery school this week, is likely to be starting university before any additional crossing is built.
"Overall, local residents, businesses and road users will share my disappointment over this announcement and I call on the new Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to address these very significant concerns as soon as possible."
New charges for the Dartford to Thurrock river crossing are now set to be introduced from Sunday, October 7, it's been confirmed.
From that date cash payments at the tunnel and bridge will increase from £1.50 to £2.00 for cars, and from £3.70 to £5.00 for heavy goods vehicles.
Any vehicle using the crossing between 10pm and 6am can continue to do so for free.
Roads Minister Mike Penning said: “The Dartford to Thurrock crossing is a vital piece of transport infrastructure, but upgrades need to be made. To do that, we need to start planning now for the future.
“That’s why we are introducing free-flow charging by the autumn 2014 and currently analysing the options for a new crossing in the Lower Thames area.
“We have listened carefully to what people have said, which is why charges that were meant to be implemented towards the end of last year have been delayed until now. The money raised will help us prioritise investment for much needed improvements to increase capacity and reduce journey times.”
The increase is the first of two planned changes previously announced in May 2012. A second rise will be made when free-flow charging is introduced, when the cost to travel by car will increase to £2.50, by 2 axle vehicles to £3 and by heavy goods vehicles to £6.