Reporter's campaign gathers MPs' support
PUBLISHED: 17:50 01 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:35 23 August 2010
MPS have vowed to lobby the government for a trial suspension of tolls on the Dartford Crossing after the Transport Minister agreed to consider the idea. For the last five months, the Reporter and its readers have been campaigning for a one-month trail s
MPS have vowed to lobby the government for a trial suspension of tolls on the Dartford Crossing after the Transport Minister agreed to consider the idea.
For the last five months, the Reporter and its readers have been campaigning for a one-month trail suspension of tolls on the Dartford Crossing to investigate its effect on congestion and pollution.
So far more than 1,000 readers have pledged their support for our 'Stop the Toll' campaign.
Speaking at a visit to Ebbsfleet International Station last Tuesday Transport Minister Geoff Hoon told the Reporter he would consider suspending the toll and challenged MPs to press him on the matter in parliament.
MP for Dartford Howard Stoate said: "He did say he was going to consider any sensible suggestion and that's not a guarantee, but at least he is prepared to look at it. The only problem is that even the one month trial is going to cost about £5 million.
"It's not like we can just turn off the toll and say everything is alright so it's not a small thing to decide. I'd have to try and persuade Geoff Hoon that's worth investing £5 million in.
"If we did scrap the tolls altogether you have got to find £60 million because that's what they currently make. I'd like to see the toll scrapped - I always have done - but £60 million in the current climate is an awful lot of money to find.
"We'd have to convince the Government that it's worth the money. I will certainly be discussing the possibility of the trial, but it will cost money and that has to be found from somewhere."
But MP for Gravesham Adam Holloway, who has been a long-time critic of the tolls and the payment system, says his own comments on the matter have repeatedly fallen on deaf ears.
He said: "I have written to Geoff Hoon ad nauseum. The point here is they say the tolls are necessary to prevent congestion. That's absolute crap but what I said about a year ago was if that's the case let's suspend the toll just for a week to see what difference it makes, but they said no."