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Dartford-Thurrock Crossing (Tolls)

Volume 527: debated on Thursday 5 May 2011

4. When he plans to announce his consultation on the level of tolls on the Dartford-Thurrock crossing; and if he will make a statement. (54157)

I hope shortly to announce and publish the consultation which I know my hon. Friend is waiting for on the revision of the road user charging regime for the Dartford river crossing.

I thank the Minister for his reply. A few months ago, he announced his intention to remove the barriers at the Dartford crossing. My constituents would like the tolls removed altogether, of course, but we recognise the need to maintain revenue. The barrier removal will reduce congestion significantly. When he brings forward his proposals, will he include plans to make sure that foreign lorries are charged for using the crossing? Haulage is a big constituency interest for me, and my hauliers are at a competitive disadvantage compared with European suppliers.

I fully understand the concern that if we go to free-flow tolling in Dartford, or any other part of the country, everybody who uses the road should pay, including foreign truckers and foreign vehicles. Some 20% of trucks that go through Dartford are foreign-registered, so we are very conscious of the issue and will make sure that we work on it.