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.
“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."