Chancellor's plan for new Dartford crossing fails to win MP's support
PUBLISHED: 18:13 29 November 2011
Chancellor George Osborne has given the green light to an extra crossing over the River Thames in the Dartford area.
Chancellor George Osborne has given the green light to an extra crossing over the River Thames in the Dartford area as part of his schemes to boost the economy.
But today’s announcement in the Chancellor’s autumn statement has not won any backing from town MP Gareth Johnson who said that there is too much disruption from the existing crossing.
The Conservative MP said: “I will not be supporting any extra crossing in the Dartford area. Dartford has suffered enough as a result of the existing Dartford Crossing.”
He added: “Local people will naturally be highly suspicious of a new lower Thames crossing given all that we have had to put up with from the Crossing.”
He called for the public to have a chance to make their views known.
He added: “It is essential that there is a full, open and fair consultation process where people have every opportunity to convey their views. We cannot have a situation where Dartford is seen simply as a convenient location to place another Thames Crossing.”
London mayor Boris Johnson meanwhile had fought for the scheme along with two other river crossings. He said: “That will unlock untold potential.”
Last week Transport Minister Mike Penning decided not to go ahead with the increases to tolls which were due to come in this winter, with a second price hike in the spring.
But he hinted that charges would increase later in 2012 after the Olympics to fund future projects.
He said: “The Dartford Crossing is a vital piece of transport infrastructure that has brought huge economic benefits. The large number of responses to our consultation into increasing charges shows just how important the Crossing is for local people and road users.
“We have listened to concerns about introducing increases before Christmas and the Olympics and I can confirm that the charges will not rise this month and in April next year as originally planned. A final decision on timings and a full response to the consultation will be announced in due course, once we have had more time to fully consider all the important issues raised by the 1,300 plus responses.
“This does not change the fact that many more motorists want to use the Crossing than it was designed for - leading to frequent lengthy delays and damage to the economy - and action is needed.”