Date: Tue 22nd June 2010
Gareth Johnson has met with Phillip Hammond, Secretary of State for Transport, Mike Penning, Roads Minister and senior Civil Servants to discuss the future of the Dartford Crossing.
The specially convened meeting at the Department for Transport looked at the increasing levels of congestion at the Crossing and concluded that the congestion has to be tackled.
“I am delighted that the Ministers have accepted that current levels of congestion at the Crossing cannot be allowed to continue. There was an acceptance that there has to be change.
“The Ministry is carrying out a review of the logistics involved in removing the toll booths and the misery, congestion and pollution they cause
“Whilst this review is being carried out the Ministry will also look at the possibility of allowing the tolls to be suspended when severe tailbacks build up. It clearly makes sense for the tolls to be suspended to allow tailbacks to clear.
“The traffic problems have worsened as a result of the changes in the toll charges that were brought in by the last Government. I am simply not prepared to accept the current situation and nor, I am pleased to say, is the Department of Transport.
“This review represents the most exciting progress we have seen in alleviating the congestion in twenty years. Whilst I haven’t yet convinced the Treasury that the charge levied on motorists should be removed, the Department for Transport is convinced that the toll booths themselves need to be removed and tackling the congestion and pollution at the Dartford Crossing is a priority.
“At long last, we could see an end to the congestion at the Dartford Crossing and see this within the lifetime of this Parliament”.