Londonist has learned today of a rather excellent lobby to abolish the Dartford tolls. This idea makes us very happy. The government is raking enough money in from motorists as it is, and this goose has laid enough golden eggs for the Department for Transport to have earned a bit of time off.
The whole Dartford project, from the first tunnel opened in 1963 to the Queen Elizabeth Bridge which the good monarch herself opened in 1991, was awesome in its scope: the tunnels have iconic appeal, an engineering masterpiece in the not-especially-exciting landscape that is Western Essex /North Kent, and the bridge is something that bridge geeks the world over get off on (or perhaps get across on). The business of financing it from the private sector was radical: it was the first ‘Private Finance Initiative’ and worked really well.
But that’s enough already. The monies used to pay for it all have been recovered many times over, and Le Crossing’s time est fini. The new petition, raised by an Essex councillor, quite rightly points out that the tolls unnecessarily slow the flow of the M25, thus increasing pollution in the area. Give us a break, panjandrum dudes. Show us some light at the end of the stealth tax tunnel.
Slightly worrying photo from kh1234567890’s flickr stream.