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Toll rise is void' due to falling use

PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:27 23 August 2010

A LEADING campaign group say the government decision to increase tolls at the Dartford Crossing should be reversed due to a DECLINE in usage. The figures, which were obtained by MP for Romford Andrew Rosindell in a Parliamentary Question, show a decrease

A LEADING campaign group say the government decision to increase tolls at the Dartford Crossing should be reversed due to a DECLINE in usage.

The figures, which were obtained by MP for Romford Andrew Rosindell in a Parliamentary Question, show a decrease of more than one million vehicles using the crossing in 2007/2008, compared to the year before.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said on Monday that they prove that congestion is not getting worse and that the decision to increase the toll charges were not justified.

More than 1,000 Kentish Times readers have signed a petition calling for the tolls to be axed for one month to see if it has any affect on congestion.

FSB Transport spokesperson, David Wenham said: "When the government imposed the 50 per cent increase in charges for vehicles using the Dartford River Crossing, the main argument they put forward was that the increasing usage of the crossing was causing congestion and the increased tolls would reduce that increase.

"Now the truth behind those figures has been revealed. The figures show that use was falling significantly even before the 50 per cent increase in charges imposed on November 15 last year and suggest that the increase was an opportunity for the government to generate more revenue by this stealth tax on motorists."

In November the toll for cars was increased to £1.50 from £1 and the charge was scrapped during 10pm to 6am.

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: "This slight fall in local traffic does not alter the fact that for much of the day the Crossing is operating at or above its capacity because more people want to use the Crossing than it can accommodate, and in the longer term traffic is expected to continue to grow."

n Add your support by sending this coupon to Unit 4, The Courtyard, 7A Manor Road, Gravesend, DA12 1AA or visit www.dartfordtimes.co.uk

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