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Trials could put an end to tolls’

PUBLISHED: 15:49 19 March 2008 | UPDATED: 09:35 23 August 2010

TOLLS should be axed in a one-week trial to see what effect it has on thousands of road users, according to politicians. Adam Holloway, MP for Gravesham and Gareth Johnson, parliamentary candidate for Dartford, have called on the government to introduce

TOLLS should be axed in a one-week trial to see what effect it has on thousands of road users, according to politicians.

Adam Holloway, MP for Gravesham and Gareth Johnson, parliamentary candidate for Dartford, have called on the government to introduce a trial at the Dartford crossing to assess its impact on journey times and queues.

Mr Holloway said: "The trial would take place as part of the consultation process.

"We believe that there would be a free flow of traffic, less pollution, fewer traffic jams and it would speed up journey times and make business more effective."

"The government has admitted that the discounted passes for Dartford residents using the crossing may not be permanent and could be rescinded at any time.

"In any event they don't help my constituents, for whom this is just yet another tax."

Both also raised the issue of tackling fraud where users from outside the district may use friends and family in the discounted areas to obtain fraudulent passes.

Mr Johnson said: "A trial lasting one week could be very simple and quick to put in place and should form part of the consultation process.

"This would settle the argument once and for all about congestion and whether this form of road tax is justified.

"I personally think the tax should be axed for everyone."

Transport manager Andrew Tooth of LV Transport, Norfolk Road, Gravesend, said a trial would reap hugely beneficial results.

He said: "The biggest problem at the moment is time, it takes far too long too get through the toll booths.

"This is made worse by the left-hand drive lorries coming from the continent. They have to get out and walk round because the booths are set up for right-hand drive vehicles.

"If there was a trial it would save us a quite a bit of money.

"But I can't see the government agreeing to it because it raises too much revenue for them."

Dartford MP Dr Howard Stoate helped secure a 90 per cent discount for Dartford borough residents, expected to go live around September. Residents in Thurrock will also get the same deal, but those outside will have to pay full price.

The crossing generates revenues of £70 million and costs £15 million annually

to run.

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