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Free-flow traffic system at Dartford Crossing delayed

Plans for a toll-free system at the Dartford Crossing have been delayed Credit: ITV Meridian

The introduction of new "cashless" payment arrangements at one of Britain's busiest road crossings has been delayed.

The Highways Agency had intended to scrap toll booths and introduce a "free-flow" traffic system at the Dartford River Crossing across the Thames east of London around mid-October. But the agency said that the new system will come into effect during late November.

Highways Agency project leader Nigel Gray said it was only right that the system be thoroughly tested before it was introduced.

Poll finds majority supports 2nd runway at Gatwick

The majority of Gatwick's local community supports a second runway and 60% of residents think it's important for the local economy

Those are the findings of a poll conducted by the airport. It's expansion plans faces opposition from campaigners but bosses at the airport the survey is encouraging.

ITV Meridian spoke to David McMillan from Gatwick Airport.

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New smartcard launched for rail passengers

Rail passengers using Southern trains in Surrey and Sussex have become the first in the country to use a single smartcard for rail, bus and London Underground services. Called 'the key,' weekly and longer season tickets can be loaded and bought online.

ITV Meridian spoke to David Brown from Southern Trains.

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Hovertravel says crew 'acted appropriately' when pilot, nearly three times over drink driving limit, took charge

Statement from Hovertravel

Hovertravel appreciates the serious nature of this matter and has been fully co-operating with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's investigation since the incident.

Following this, Hovertravel have reviewed their robust procedures and concluded they were implemented successfully on the day which ensured that any risk to health and safety was mitigated. Regular training and a clear understanding of our safety procedures gave our crew the confidence to react appropriately to the situation.

As the court proceedings are still ongoing, we can not comment on the specifics of the incident and we continue to provide all and any assistance required to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Hovercraft pilot, nearly three times over drink drive limit, was in charge of vessel

Richard Pease was in charge of the hovercraft Credit: M and Y

Hovercraft pilot Richard Pease faces the sack after admitting to being nearly three times over the drink-drive limit while in charge of a vessel carrying 36 people.

A colleague had to step-in and take over the controls when Pease fell ill at the controls of the Hovertravel Freedom 90.

Pease, 50, of Cowes, Isle of Wight, pleaded guilty to being a master of a hovercraft having consumed excess alcohol.

The experienced pilot was responsible for driving the vessel during a five-mile journey across the Solent from Portsmouth to Ryde on June 22.

Hovercraft pilot was nearly three times drink drive limit

Hovercraft pilot Richard Pease faces the sack after admitting to being nearly three times over the drink-drive limit while in charge of a vessel carrying 36 people.

Pease, 50, of Cowes, Isle of Wight, pleaded guilty to being a master of a hovercraft having consumed excess alcohol.

The experienced pilot was responsible for driving the vessel during a five-mile journey across the Solent from Portsmouth to Ryde on 22 June.

But a colleague had to step in and take over the controls when Pease fell ill at the controls of the Hovertravel Freedom 90.

Tests revealed he had been drinking and had 96 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath. The legal drink-drive limit is 35 micrograms.

Neil Fitzgibben, defending, said: "Mr Pease has an unblemished character. He has been a hovercraft pilot for nearly 20 years. I will present some character references in due course."

The case has been adjourned for sentencing at Isle of Wight Crown Court on 10 October and Peace has been released on unconditional bail.

Pease, wearing a navy suit and blue tie, pleaded not guilty to two further charges of driving a vehicle while his alcohol level was above the limit and not complying with requirements of the International Safety Management Code.

Sunyana Sharma, prosecuting, told Honorary Judge Linda Sullivan QC the pleas were acceptable as the initial two charges were put in place because it was thought the Railways and Transport Safety Act did not include hovercraft.

Hovertravel operates two hovercrafts and has carried more than 26 million passengers since it opened in 1965.

Hovertravel is the world’s longest-running commercial hovercraft service and is the only scheduled passenger service in Europe.

Modern hovercraft were developed in the 1950s by British inventor Sir Chris­topher Cockerell.

They float on a cushion of air allowing them to travel over water and flat land surfaces.

The steering of the craft is controlled by rudders, which are located in the slipstream behind each propeller. The captain can also use the propellers to change the direction of the craft.

Hovertravel refused to comment until after Pease has been sentenced.

Witness appeal after two motorcyclists killed in crash

Fatal crash involving a Range Rover and two motorcycles at Chuck Hatch Credit: Eddie Mitchell

Two motorcyclists have died after colliding with a car in the Ashdown Forest. The accident happened at 6.30pm on Sunday on the junction of the B2026 in Chuck Hatch with Wrens Warren.

The motorcyclists - a man aged 19 from Forest Row and a 20-year-old man from Turners Hill, both died at the scene.

The driver of the Range Rover, a 52-year-old man from Chuck Hatch, was treated at the scene for shock. He has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, and is being questioned by police.

"The B2026 is a very isolated road so it is unlikely that there were many motorists that saw any of the vehicles in the area just before the crash.

"However we are keen to speak to anyone who may have seen the motorcycles or the Range Rover being driven in the minutes beforehand.

"If you remember anything at all about them, please contact us. What you tell us could be vital to our investigation.

"The crash has left two families grieving for loved ones tonight and we urgently need to speak to anyone who knows anything about what happened."

– Sergeant Mark Baker, Sussex & Surrey Roads Policing Unit
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