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Dartford crossing fines top £53m

PUBLISHED: 10:56 29 December 2017 | UPDATED: 15:02 02 January 2018

The QEII Bridge will be closed from 11pm today because of the high winds forecast from Storm Eleanor.

The QEII Bridge will be closed from 11pm today because of the high winds forecast from Storm Eleanor.

Archant

Motorists paid a staggering £53million in fines since automation at the Dartford crossing - that’s a third of its income.

Since 2014, drivers use the two tunnels into Essex and take the bridge into Kent without stopping to pay.

Number plate recognition systems check who hasn’t paid the £2.50 fee using Dart Tags, online, phone, post or Payzone outlets.

Fines are £70, or £35 if paid within a fortnight.

Car Buyer magazine discovered fines are now third of total Dartford Crossing income.

It said: “Motorists who fail to pay the Dartford crossing fee in time have stumped up over £53m in fines so far official figures confirm.”

A Freedom of Information request established between 2015 and 2016, the first complete accounting year since barriers came down, £76.7m was paid by Dart Charge; £31.3m was paid by everyone else.

However, fines totalled £53.1m - nearly 33 per cent of the Crossing’s income.

They said income rose “primarily due to the application of enforcement management measures across the whole financial year and increases to traffic flow.

Traffic volume increased by eight per cent since automation, and just 7.3 per cent during the chargeable period of 5am to 10pm.

Highways England said it’s only fair to paying drivers that non-payment is enforced and is done fairly and appropriately.

It said: “We are absolutely clear that drivers using the Dartford crossing need to pay their Dart Charge, but we try and offer drivers maximum opportunity to avoid a penalty. For example, all first offenders are offered the opportunity to pay their outstanding crossing charges and cancel their penalties.”

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