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More businesses against Dartford rise

The South East Local Enterprise Partnership has added its disappointment to those arguing against price hikes at the Dartford Crossing.

Road Minister, Mike Penning MP, announced today that motorists face an increase of 50p to £2 and articulated lorries will see charges rise from £3.70 to £5.

Ultimately charges at the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge and two tunnels will increase to £2.50 for cars and £6 for articulated lorries in October 2014.

However, the Government also announced that free flowing tolling will not be introduced until the autumn of 2014.

Unblocking the Dartford Crossing is critical to the health of many businesses in our area, let alone our mission to create the most enterprising economy in England.

“We will therefore continue to press for earlier delivery of free flow tolling.

“The price increases add insult to injury unless they are to be accompanied by a commitment to raising the barrier at levels of congestion lower than they are currently “

– South East LEP chairman, John Spence

Dartford Toll rises: the full details

Tolls
Thousands of drivers rely on the Dartford Crossing Credit: ITV Meridian

Car drivers are going to have to pay another pound to use the Dartford Toll. From October onwards the price will go up by 50p for those who pay cash. And in October 2014 the price will rise by another 50 pence, raising the total charge from one pound fifty to two pounds fifty.

The cash charges for other vehicles will go up as well. Discounts for those who pay using the electronic Dart-Tag system will remain. Free flow charging technology will also be introduced in October 2014.

The government had postponed plans to increase toll charges after hundreds of people responded to a public consultation. But the Department of Transport has now decide to go ahead with the increases.

The hikes had originally been planned for November last year and April this year.

The Department of Transport it had received around 1,300 responses to the consultation and has carefully considered all of the representations that had been made.

"We have concluded that the most appropriate way of balancing the need to manage demand at the Crossing and maintain the prioritisation of future improvements at the Crossing, is to retain the road user charge."

The hike will pay for free flow charging technology at the crossing and to develop proposals for a new crossing in the lower Thames area.

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Small businesses 'appalled' at price hike

The Federation of Small Businesses says its "appalled" by the Department of Transport's decision to increase the tolls at the Dartford crossing.

The Government promised to remove the tolls after the costs of building and maintaining the crossing had been recovered.

This was achieved nine years ago, yet the tolls remain and are now to be increased by £1 a crossing.

The government has broken its promise. Why should we believe that toll revenue will be used to fund another crossing and that this is not one more tax raising initiative?

“The increased toll charges will not reduce the congestion, the tolls were converted into a congestion charge in 2008 and the crossing was working above design capacity for 257 days in 2010.

“At a time when the country is trying to pull the economy out of recession and has a growth agenda in the Thames Gateway, on-going congestion should be eliminated, and this may be achieved by removal of the tolls.”

– Roger House, Chairman of the FSB in Kent and Medway

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