COUNCIL leader John Kent has called on the government to scrap proposals to increase the Dartford Crossing toll charge by 25 percent.

The government want to increase the cost of crossing from £2 to £2.50, as well as the introduction of the free-flow toll system in October.

Councillor Kent said he has written to the Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin asking for the proposed rise to at least be postponed if not scrapped altogether.

H said: “Although I continue to urge all local residents to sign up for the crossing discount and for the government to extend that to Thurrock-based business too, I fear the rise plus the plans for the crossing will lead to confusion and chaos.”

Councillor Kent added: “Putting the price up at the same time as changing the system is daft enough, but they’re planning on putting the tolls up at the same time as imposing a 20mph speed limit while the toll booths and barriers are being demolished.”

The Highways Agency has said the new free flow toll system will improve congestion, but its own figures suggest it could cost as much as £21m a year in unpaid charges from foreign drivers.

The existing crossing is used by 140,000 vehicles a day.