Dartford Toll: “A political stunt” says council leader

Thurrock Council Leader, Cllr John Kent, gave a muted reaction to the government’s latest statement on the Thames crossing and tolls.

Cllr Kent said on Thursday (24 November): “Of course I am grateful for this albeit temporary respite, but it was hardly a surprise that 50p increase planned for November wasn’t going to happen.

“The government announced the consultation and their proposed toll increases in September 2010 and we’re still waiting.”

He added: “Although it’s welcome news that there will be no toll increases in the next five months, all the other questions are left unresolved.

“When is the government going to fund the much needed Junction 30/31 improvements? When are we going to get number-recognition software at the crossing to do away with the queues and congestion? What is the government’s position on whether the tolls should go up after April – are increases this being ruled out?

“These are all questions we need answers to – that’s we as in residents, we as in local and national businesses, and we as in the council and even the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.

“Thurrock is now committed to a major regeneration strategy, a strategy which will dominate almost all aspects of our work, from education to job creation, from creating a better and cleaner environment to building pride in our communities … and transport of course.

“I call on the government to take this extra time to look carefully at all their proposals and the effects they will have on business and the local economy. What the minister should have said today is that there will categorically be no increase in toll fees until free-flow tolling has been introduced and has been seen to be working.”

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