CAMPAIGNERS have held a meeting to call for a planned discount scheme for the tolls at the Dartford Crossing to be extended.

The meeting was held in the Express by Holiday Inn car park in Bob Dunn Way, Dartford, on April 25.

It was organised by Gravesham MP Adam Holloway and the prospective Conservative parliamentary candidate for Dartford, Gareth Johnson.

They were joined by Bexleyheath and Crayford MP David Evennett and Bob Neill, the London Assembly member for Bexley and Bromley and the MP for Bromley and Chislehurst.

Cars are currently charged £1 at all times but under the new proposals motorists will be able to cross for free between 10pm and 6am but be charged £1.50 at other times.

Residents in Dartford and in Thurrock, Essex, would be eligible to join a discount scheme.

They would pay an annual £10 registration fee allowing them 50 free one-way journeys each year, with additional journeys costing 20p.

The new tolls are expected to start in the autumn if the plans go ahead.

Mr Holloway said: "If the Government continues to charge motorists it needs to realise people need to get across the river for work and these people come from further than Dartford and Thurrock."

As part of the Government's consultation process, Mr Holloway asked transport secretary Ruth Kelly to make using the crossing free for a week.

He said the impact this would have on traffic, congestion and the environment could then be assessed.

Mr Holloway said: "Unfortunately, it was rejected. Those who use the crossing think it would save time. Those who have looked at maps of the crossing say it would not."

The consultation on revised charges ends on May 16.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport, which put forward the proposals, said: "Charges at the Dartford Crossing help tackle congestion. Revenues from the crossing are invested in public transport.

"We have no plans to remove the charges, but we do accept at quiet times there is no need for them, which is why we will be removing them at night from the autumn."

Visit the website at Responses can be posted to Julian Smith, Dartford Consultation Zone 3/5, Great Minster House, 76 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DR, or emailed to