6 March 2014
The Department for Transport (DfT) announced that, following a consultation held in 2011, it had decided to increase the tolls paid at the Dartford Crossing in order to fund improvements and reduce congestion.
The charge of £2.50 for two-axle goods vehicles will increase to £3.00 on 1 October 2014.
The £5.00 charge for multi-axle goods vehicles will go up to £6.00 on 1 October 2014.
The Dart-Tag charges were to increase in similar fashion.
For two-axle goods vehicles, the charge of £2.19 will rise to £2.63 in October 2014.
For multi-axle goods vehicles, the charge of £4.33 iwill go up to £5.19 in October 2014.
Suspension of charges
The Highways Agency has published an Operational Instruction for Charging Suspension Protocol with regard to the Dartford Crossing. This states that charges may be suspended on a case-by-case basis when an emergency exists or is imminent. An emergency may exist in a range of circumstances, including when severe congestion occurs.
The Protocol defines “severe congestion” as: queuing traffic (stationary or slow moving traffic travelling at less than approximately 10 mph) which extends continuously from the Dartford Crossing to M25 J28 centre (A12) for southbound traffic or to M25 J4 centre (A224) for northbound traffic.
Road user charging
In November 2012, the Highways Agency published detailed proposals to introduce post-payment and enforcement measures that would support the introduction of "free-flow" charging at the crossing. To support this change, the Department for Transport (DfT) published detailed proposals to provide "fair and effective enforcement" of free-flow road-user charging in accordance with the Transport Act 2000. In July 2013, it announced that, as road user charging schemes had been agreed, the Dartford–Thurrock river crossing would implement such a charging scheme in 2014.
Introducing a free-flow charging arrangement would reduce congestion and improve journeys for the thousands of motorists and businesses who use the crossing every day, the DfT said. The draft Road User Charging Scheme (Enforcement) (England) Regulations 2013 can be found here.