Dartford MP Gareth Johnson has welcomed the improvements to the local resident discount scheme that will be coming into force from Saturday.

The scheme gives Dartford and Thurrock residents the chance to pay a one-off £20 fee to make unlimited trips across the Dartford Crossing each year.

From Saturday people already registered in the Local Residents’ Discount Scheme, and those eligible to register, will be able to make unlimited trips over the crossing for £20 a year.

Existing account holders and new applicants will need to make a fresh application to join the improved scheme.

This option is open to local residents and business owners who privately own a light goods vehicle.

For those making fewer trips, less than 100 crossings a year, the existing scheme which allows residents to pay £10 for 50 trips a year and 20p for each crossing thereafter will continue.

The annual £20 fee for those registered in the residents’ scheme means people who use the Dartford Crossing regularly will be paying just 5p a day.

Mr Johnson said: " It is pleasing that we have some good news on the Dartford Crossing for a change.

"This is the first time that local small businesses will be given any kind of assistance.

"Once the registration fee is paid then cars and light goods vehicles, belonging to Dartford residents, can use the crossing as many times as they like each year without further charge. This is a big improvement on the current charging system.

"In October we will have further good news with the actual removal of the booths and a free flow system being used instead."