Ban oversized and hazardous vehicles at Dartford Crossing, says local logistics firm

PUBLISHED: 00:01 09 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:55 10 October 2017

Europa Group Limited wants to see

Europa Group Limited wants to see "oversized and hazardous vehicles the other way around the M25"

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Europa Worldwide Group suggests some lorries should instead make the trip around the clockwise M25

Andrew Baxter, managing director of Europa Worldwide Group Andrew Baxter, managing director of Europa Worldwide Group

A Dartford company is calling for a ban on oversized and hazardous vehicles at the Dartford Crossing, saying they should instead be diverted around the motorway.

Europa Worldwide Group, based near the crossing in Albion Road, says it has “officially had enough” of delays at the troubled M25 crossing, sparking calls from managing director Andrew Baxter to ban some lorries altogether.

Managing director Andrew Baxter said: “When an oversized or hazardous goods vehicle enters the crossing, it needs to be escorted in a convoy. Whenever there is a convoy, other traffic has to stop. On average, 100 convoys go through the crossing a day. This means that at least one of the tunnels is closed every 15 minutes on average.”

Mr Baxter claims the proposal could remove up to two-and-a-half hours of northbound traffic jams at the tunnel each day.

Most of Europa Worldwide Group’s lorries are under the tunnels’ height restrictions, it does however carry some hazardous goods which would have to use the crossing’s convoy system.

The MD added: “In total, convoy vehicles represent less than 1 per cent of the total traffic through the tunnel, therefore it seems unjust to me that 99% of vehicles are delayed to accommodate them.

“As a business owner, I think diverting the lorries makes sense, we’ve had people who are ready to work for us, until they realise the location of our and are not willing to sit in traffic to and from work every day because we’re a mile from the crossing.”

Jeremy Kite, leader of Dartford council, responded: “I’m sympathetic to the needs of Dartford businesses that are faced with the problems of the crossing, it’s an issue we all constantly face, and I’m grateful the problem has been raised again.

“But I don’t think this solution can work, it would just move the problem to Heathrow or other pinch points on the M25, there would still be other issues at the crossing and most haulage firms would face another half a day or more in travel times, that can’t really happen with today’s demand.”

A spokesperson from Highways England said: “The crossing needs to accommodate all types of vehicle, and Mr Baxter’s suggestion has several issues which would make it hard to implement. While we are always open to feedback, we do not think that routing all restricted vehicles in the way Mr Baxter suggests would be an acceptable or practical solution, and we have met Mr Baxter previously to discuss these issues.”

The petition, which so far has more than 1,000 signatures, is available to view here.

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