DARTFORD residents will soon pay 90 percent less than other motorists to cross the river.

Transport secretary, Ruth Kelly, announced on February 7 that local residents will receive a £1.30 discount on the Dartford River Crossing.

Under the new toll scheme non-Dartford car drivers using the bridge will pay £1.50 while Dartford residents who apply for a special discount tag will pay just 20p per journey.

Dartford MP, Dr Howard Stoate, has been running a Fair Toll for Dartford campaign for one and a half years.

He said: "This is great news for Dartford residents. I'm delighted that Ruth Kelly has responded so positively to my campaign and recognised the need for a major local discount.

"We have to put up with all the congestion and pollution that the crossing causes so it's only right that we get something back in return. It is a huge saving for Dartford residents - particularly for those who work in Essex and use the crossing on a daily basis."

Businesses however have not been included in the discount scheme and the Freight Transport Association says that businesses who contribute to the local economy should also be rewarded.

The association's director of external affairs, Geoff Dossetter, said: "A discount scheme for local residents is good news and a step in the right direction.

"However, it should undoubtedly be extended to local commercial vehicle operators who use the crossing as part of their daily process of delivering or receiving goods and services.

"Commercial vehicle operators are key contributors to the local economy and should be supported.

He added: "We have always said that tolls at Dartford should be totally scrapped. For industry and motorists they are costly and inconvenient and the process of slowing traffic to collect a toll is very bad for air quality.

"On many occasions the collection of the toll adds to congestion problems."

The Freight Transport Association represents the transport interests of companies moving goods by road, rail, sea and air.

The discounted toll is expected to begin in the Autumn.

To apply for a Discount Dart tag visit dart-tag.co.uk