The Leader of Thurrock Council has responded to the government’s announcement on the outcome of its Thames crossing tolls consultation.
Speaking on Tuesday (22 May), Cllr John Kent said: “I think the government has missed a trick. I’m obviously disappointed the tolls are going up — twice — but there is no help for local or national business here either.”
He said: “I have to say thank-you for the government’s promise to maintain the local ‘discount’ at the same rate, but again our suggestion that local businesses should be included seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
“They are looking at possibly extending the geographic area for the discount and I can understand the logic in that, but in these difficult economic times, this was a perfect opportunity to give businesses a boost too … a trick missed.
“We lobbied for local businesses to be included but sadly without success.”
Cllr Kent said: “However I cannot welcome the news there will be a 66 per cent increase in the tolls for cars — up one third to £2 this autumn and then to £2.50 in 2014.
“Nor can I welcome the fact that free-flow charging will not be introduced until October 2014. That’s two-and-a-half years away, and it’s something we need today.
“It is also really disappointing the tolls for goods vehicles are rising by similar percentages, unfortunately it seems the crossing is seen as a cash-cow bringing in the money, not a business opportunity, freeing up commerce.”