Essex business leaders urge group to oppose toll rises on the Dartford Crossing on the M25

BUSINESS leaders have called on a new lobbying organisation to take account of its opinion in opposing Government plans to increase tolls at the Dartford River Crossing on the M25 around London as a consultation on the proposals draws to a close.

Essex Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), a long-time opponent of the toll barrier, is urging the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) to join it in opposing Government plans for changes at the Dartford River Crossing.

The Government is proposing a toll increase for cars from �1.50 to �2 in 2011 and �2.50 in 2012 aas well as increases for other vehicles. It also announced in June an initial six month trial of a protocol to suspend charges during certain periods of severe congestion, and said its medium term aim was a ‘free-flow’ charging scheme.

Essex FSB chairman Iain Wicks said: “SELEP was formed earlier this year to be a lobbying organisation on strategic issues affecting the economies of East Sussex, Essex and Kent where around 97% of the businesses are small to medium-sized enterprises.

“That is why Essex FSB is keen to encourage SELEP to take account of the results of the FSB survey on the Dartford Crossing and to submit a firm response to the Department for Transport consultation which ends on Friday (September 23).

“There is no doubt that Dartford River Crossing has a major impact on the economy of the SELEP area as it is the main route for businesses travelling between Essex and Kent.

“If we are to see the local economy achieve its maximum potential the congestion caused by the Dartford Crossing needs to be removed and action needs to happen rapidly.

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“We hope SELEP will agree with that view so we have the strongest possible voice of business telling Government Ministers what we believe needs to be done to achieve economic prosperity.”