A COUNCIL fears selling the Dartford Crossing could scupper plans to build a third crossing over the Thames.

Kent County Council will be writing to the Department for Transport to seek assurances proposals to build a third crossing will not be affected by the sale.

The Government last week announced it would sell the Dartford Crossing, along with the Tote, the Channel Tunnel rail link and the Student Loan book, to try and raise £3bn.

KCC cabinet member for environment, highways and waste, Councillor Nick Chard, said: “All analysts realise there’s a need for a third crossing.

“My concern for selling off the Dartford Crossing is when the government sells it, it prevents any other crossing being built and so guarantees income for the new purchaser.

“Anybody who buys the crossing would probably want to have guaranteed income, they wouldn’t want a competitor down the road that might take revenue away from them.”

Cllr Chard added: “The crossing as most people know is at capacity.

“There are always queues there, and particularly looking at future HGV and car usage, there’s a big need for another crossing.

“I don’t want a fire sale of Dartford Crossing to lead to increased gridlock in Kent.”

The Government announced in April it was considering three possible sites for a third crossing.

These are at the existing crossing, between the Swanscombe Peninsula and the A1089, and from east of Tilbury to east of Gravesend to the M20.

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “At this stage we are waiting for a review and outcome of a study into the viability of a third crossing.

“Clearly that study will be taken into account when a decision is made about the sale of the Dartford Crossing.”

He said the results of the study are expected early next year.