THURROCK Council Leader Cllr John Kent says he will be writing to Transport Minister Mike Penning to “remind him” of the issues surrounding the Dartford Crossing tolls.
Cllr Kent said: “Mr Penning has answered a couple of questions in Parliament over the last few weeks and those answers have me worried.
“What really gets me is that he knows the problems first hand. He worked here, he stood for Parliament here, so he should know like everyone else, that it is the toll booths themselves that lead to problems and queues.”
Last week (10 November) answering transport questions, Mr Penning said: “Even with free-flow tolling at Dartford, the northern approach to the tunnels will still be congested”.
Mr Penning also said: “We need to look at having another Thames crossing for this piece of national—I repeat, national—infrastructure”, and “at the end of the day, the biggest problem is that the M25 is such a success we need to have another crossing over the Thames”.
Cllr Kent said: “It is worrying that Mr Penning seems to have forgotten the root of the congestion problems we have on both sides of the crossing.
“This council is united in saying: ‘Get rid of the toll booths even if you can’t get rid of the tolls.’
“If that is done — along with improvements to Junction 30/31 of the M25 — then I think Mr Penning will find that not only will we not want another crossing here, I am not convinced we will need one!”
He added: “I will be writing to Mr Penning to remind him what every resident of Thurrock, past and present knows — get rid of the toll booths and you’ll go a long way toward getting rid of the congestion.”