Dartford upgrade call

HALF of local businesses want to see improvements to the existing M25 Dartford Crossing rather than a new crossing created elsewhere on the Essex/Kent coast, a survey has found.

The findings, published by Essex Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) just before today’s closing date for consultation over Government proposals for the controversial tolled Thames bridge and tunnel, found that half of those surveyed wish to see any investment funds used to improve the existing crossing point.

Less than one in four (23%) supported a new crossing linking Tilbury to Gravesend, while less than one in seven (15%) supported a new crossing closer to London and to the west of Dartford.

Essex FSB Chairman Iain Wicks said the results clearly showed the strength of opinion among firms and would be submitted to Government. “The Dartford River Crossing has a major impact on the economy of Essex as it is the main route for businesses travelling south,” he said. “As preparation for the FSB’s response to the Department for Transport’s consultation on future plans for the crossing the FSB conducted a survey which attracted 590 replies from local businesses, not just FSB members.”