Highways England denies sending bailiffs to 150,000 who haven't paid for using Dartford Crossing

It is almost a year since the Dart Charge was introduced at the Dartford Crossing Credit: Highways England

Highways England today denied reports it was sending in the bailiffs to 150,000 drivers who have failed to pay tolls at the Dartford Crossing.

Officials say no such proceedings have been started, but admit the measure could be used if motorists persistently refuse to pay to cross.

They say warning letters are sent out in the first instance and court action would be a last resort but say that is some way off.

Highways England say it is only fair that all drivers pay the tolls but they want to encourage drivers to use the proper method before using the legal process.

The Dart Charge was introduced last year - it involves payment being made in an electronic way rather than at the time of crossing. The barriers were removed earlier this year.

Drivers must pay for using the Dartford Crossing between 6am and 10pm. The fee, which can be up to £6 a time, must be paid by midnight on the day after crossing.

The penalty charge is £70 and must be paid within 28 days. It’s reduced to £35 if you pay within 14 days and increased to £105 if you don’t pay.