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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 1 April, 2003, 06:59 GMT 07:59 UK
Motorists 'let down' by toll u-turn
Dartford crossing
Car drivers have to pay 1 when the travel through the crossing
Motorists have been let down by the government u-turn on the decision to continue charging at the Dartford crossing, it has been claimed.

From Tuesday motorists should have been able to cross for free but the government's change of mind means car drivers still have to pay the 1 charge.

The AA Motoring Trust, a new charity linked to the AA said the government had broken its promise to scrap the toll.

A fee of 1 for cars has been charged at the crossing between Essex and Kent since the QEII bridge opened in 1991.

The 150,000 drivers who use the Dartford crossing each day have a right to be outraged that they will still have to pay
Paul Watters, AA Motoring Trust
The trust said the then government pledged to parliament and the AA that the fee would cease when the cost of the crossing had been paid for and a maintenance fund accumulated.

Paul Watters, from the trust, said: "It is no wonder motorists don't trust the way they are taxed and treated by governments.

"The 150,000 drivers who use the Dartford crossing each day have a right to be outraged that they will still have to pay."

The trust said money raised from the tolls would not necessary go to local transport improvements.

Help reduce congestion

Funds would be used to pay for the 10 years transport plan, which means it could be used for schemes across the country, it said.

A Department for Transport spokesman, said: "The reasons for continuing were spelt out last year when the decision was announced.

"Monies raised will only be spent on transport improvements, which will affect motorists."

According to reports when the decision was announced, Transport Minister John Spellar said charges would be set at the same levels to help reduce congestion at the crossing.

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