Dartford Labour leader slams 'pathetic' government response to Dartford Crossing petition
PUBLISHED: 12:22 11 October 2016
The government's response to the petition claims journey times have been improving
The government’s response to a petition calling for an inquiry into the congestion and delays at the Dartford Crossing has been branded ‘pathetic’ by the leader of Dartford Labour Party.
More than 16,000 people have put their name to the petition since it was launched last month calling for an investigation into ‘botched’ improvement work to the northbound river crossing
The Department for Transport has published a response claiming Dart Charge has reduced journey times for drivers and that further measures are being explored to improve the tunnel’s performance.
Speaking after a meeting of Dartford Borough Council, where a motion supporting the petition was debated by councillors, Labour leader Jonathon Hawkes commented: “The response from the government to a petition that has been signed by over 16,000 people in just a few weeks has been pathetic. It certainly falls way short of the response people in Dartford deserve.
“The government have stated that journey times have improved since the introduction of Dart Charge. I think you would struggle to find many Dartford residents who agree with that. It’s a hugely complacent attitude when local people are stuck in gridlock night after night. It’s clear the government is not taking Dartford’s gridlock crisis seriously.”
In the response, government officials confirmed that a decision on the location of the Lower Thames Crossing is imminent.
“Through its plans for a new Lower Thames Crossing the government has a clear long term approach to increase capacity in the area and improve journeys,” the statement reads.
“A consultation on a new Lower Thames Crossing took place earlier this year and a decision on the preferred route is due shortly. In the short term Highways England is working with partners to do all that is possible to improve traffic flow on the northbound approaches to the Dartford Crossing.”
A motion calling on the government to respond positively to the petition for an inquiry was backed by councillors from both sides of the council chamber.
Councillor Hawkes added: “It’s right that an inquiry takes place. Dartford needs to understand the decisions were taken that got us to this point. More importantly, a route needs to be plotted to begin to get us out of it.
“It’s good that the council is in agreement that in inquiry should take place – the government now need to act.”