FTA calls for Dartford Crossing toll to be ditched

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The FTA has called for the Dartford Crossing toll to be scrapped, something which it says should have been done five years ago.

The declaration follows the government’s decision to give discounts to residents using the crossing while increasing charges for everyone else, in a bid to lower congestion by encouraging traffic to use the bridge at night.

However, the FTA has said this reasoning is “misguided” and will only marginally affect motorists’ behaviour as industry use of the bridge is determined by delivery schedules, some of which are not flexible.

Stopping traffic to take the toll has also been criticised for contributing to congestion, as well as increasing pollution.

The toll was initially introduced under the agreement that it would be withdrawn as soon as the bridge had been paid for, which according to the FTA was on 1st April 2003.

Natalie Chapman, regional policy manager at the FTA, said: “The decision smacks of political expediency. All the discount will do is to provide some free local crossings while leaving traffic patterns and volumes unchanged.”

Chapman also highlighted the success of scrapping tolls in Scotland earlier this year.

“The experience in Scotland where tolls were abolished in February 2008 was that traffic anarchy did not ensue, rather traffic flow was freed up and pollution levels reduced.”

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