MP does not back calls to ban some lorries from Dartford Tunnel

PUBLISHED: 12:26 18 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:26 18 December 2017

Routine safety work means the tunnel will be closed overnight. Picture: PA

Routine safety work means the tunnel will be closed overnight. Picture: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson has voiced concerns about a haulier’s proposal to ban danger lorries from the Dartford Tunnel.

More than 2,000 signatures back sending restricted lorries the “long way round” rather that halting traffic into London during police escorts.

That is reported to be happening an average of four times an hour, causing two-and-a-half hours in extra delays daily.

Europa Worldwide Group boss Andrew Baxer wants those lorries kept out of the tunnels.

However, Mr Johnson doesn’t support sending these lorries around the M25 in the other direction.

He told The Reporter: “I am working closely and support Andrew and agree something needs to be done to help business and travellers.

“I don’t support banning these lorries, and we are having meetings with Highways England to look at the problems and significantly reduce the crossing jams.”

The Stop the Convoys campaign is supported by the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce.

Chief executive Jo James said: “The congestion at the tunnel causes economic and environmental damage and has an impact on businesses – particularly those using the tunnel on a frequent basis. We had a very positive discussion with Andrew Baxter about these issues and the chamber will continue to work on behalf of its members to find a workable solution to this ever-growing problem.”

Mr Baxter added: “Thousands of motorists and businesses have to bear the delays.

“It’s those people and organisations who can make the biggest difference. Time is a precious commodity and losing it costs businesses money.

“We’ve welcomed alternative suggestions; we’re engaging with the right people, now with the help of the Kent Invicta Chamber we’re actively targeting the support of other local businesses, bringing them on board and asking them to help spread the word.”

Andrew also wants an official investigation into the 4.7 metre height restrictions on the left bore.

Highways England said: “The Dartford Crossing is a vital transport gateway and escorting restricted loads through the tunnel in a convoy allows us to keep the tunnel operating safely.”

It does not believe routing all restricted vehicles in the way Mr Baxter suggests is either acceptable or practical.

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