A COUNCIL has compiled a response to plans to increase toll charges.

Dartford Council has written a report outlining its reaction to the Governmen proposals to increase tolls at the Dartford Crossing.

The report says the increase from £1 to £1.50 would not discourage drivers from using the crossing, as there are no alternatives for motorists.

It also suggested booths should be installed for left-hand drive vehicles to reduce the amount of congestion at the crossing when drivers have to stop.

The report was sent to the Department for Transport on February 23 during its 12-week consultation to compile views about the service.

Proposals include scrapping charges at night and giving discounts of up to 50p to holders of Dart-Tag, the pre-pay system for regular users.

Residents have until March 9 to take part in the consultation and submit ideas for reducing congestion on the crossing.

Ward councillor for Greenhithe Councillor Martin Murphy says he agrees with the report and wants less cars waiting in queues at toll booths.

He said: "Vehicles will still go through the crossing even if tolls rise.

"We have to think about the environment and not put a band aid on a problem which needs a holistic approach.

"Congestion can be stopped by making it compulsory for drivers to have a Dart-Tag."

Sean Murray, who owns a haulage company, said: "I lose hundreds of pounds a day sitting in traffic at the crossing.

"I would like to see seperate lanes for Dart-Tag users, a couple for cars and a couple for lorries.

"Why have a Dart-Tag if you're stuck in behind people paying at booths?"

Dartford MP Dr Howard Stoate thinks the tolls should be scrapped.

He said: "The only circumstances in which I would be prepared to tolerate the retention of the tolls would be if Dartford residents were to be given a 90 per cent discount.

"Not only would these concessions bring to an end the unfair treatment of local drivers but they would provide an appropriate form of compensation for the severe congestion and pollution the crossing generates."