Dartford Labour leader Jonathon Hawkes has accused the Conservatives of “wasting the opportunity” of a debate held in Parliament this week on the delays at the Dartford Crossing.
Cllr Hawkes commented - “The debate was a huge wasted opportunity to make progress on an issue that is causing misery for thousands of people across Dartford. What Dartford residents wanted to see from this debate was a clear plan of action to start to ease the delays that regularly cause congestion across our town. Instead, what we got was just warm words, complacency and no plan to start to address the problem.
The truth is that the Conservatives in Dartford have presided over the growing traffic gridlock and they have no idea how to resolve it. It’s easy for Gareth Johnson and Jeremy Kite to criticise Dart Charge today, but they were the people overseeing its introduction and predicting that congestion would be reduced. Unbelievably, earlier this year Cllr Kite was still claiming that the removal of the toll barriers at the crossing had been “an unqualified success”. The compliancy of the Conservatives has contributed to dire situation we see today.”
At the last election, the Conservatives promised a joined up transport plan for Dartford. So far, we’ve heard a lot of talk but seen no action. Residents sitting in traffic jams will rightly ask why that promise is not being delivered.
We need a different approach. That’s why Labour are calling for a new traffic plan for Dartford focused on delivering;
- · Additional investment to bring forward delivery of promised improvement works and to ease the bottlenecks that cause congestion
- · Improvements to our public transport. Our local bus network is struggling to cope in the congestion and we need to ensure that Crossrail is extended to Dartford.
- · Action to tackle the delays at the Crossing. Simply holding meetings and debates isn’t good enough– local people need to see a credible plan of action that includes the views of motoring and freight industry groups, local businesses and residents.
- · A decision on the location of a new crossing. We need a new crossing away from Dartford, built as soon as possible.
The Conservatives are failing Dartford – residents deserve better than to be stuck with gridlock. We need to get Dartford moving again.