Dartford Crossing Tolls - Cockle
Saw an article in our local paper tonight (tucked away on Page 8) which refers to Essex County Council Environment & Transport Committee being in favour of retaining tolls on the Dartford Crossing beyond the end of next year. Apparently this will bring in 'an additional £50million' to be shared on transport schemes in Essex, north Kent and the M25 corridor. Tolls will remain at £1 for cars, lorries £1.80 or £2.90 but only £1 between 10pm & 6am, motorcycles free.
This has been mooted by the Government and is out for consultation, CLOSING DATE NOVEMBER 7th!!!!!
The first thing that annoys me, is, why the apparent secrecy to date? Are they really that frightened that someone might notice before it's too late, which it almost certainly is.
The second point is that when the original tunnel was built it was just a link between Essex & Kent and the tolls would end when it was paid for, or so we were told. Then it was discovered that we needed a second tube to take the traffic so the tolls would stay to pay for it but the tolls would go when it was paid for. Once the second tube was opened suddenly the M25 conveniently, for the Government, because they didn't have to build a Thames crossing, appeared at either end. Then of course the traffic increased to such levels that we needed an additional bridge so the tolls stayed to pay for it, surprise, surprise! But the promise was that the tolls would be lifted at the end of 2002 when all the costs would have been recouped. So now just as we can all see an end to the interminable queues at the toll-booths the tolls are going to stay. So it would appear that we are going to carry on paying endlessly, as if 35 years or so hasn't paid for it already.
My apologies if this has gone on a bit but I think I've probably bought one lane over the years and it feels like someone's just told me that I've got to carry on paying the mortgage.
Re: Dartford Crossing Tolls - Jonathan
Wasn't there a similar issue in Glasgow a few months ago, I think the locals made the council back down.

Jonathan
Re: Dartford Crossing Tolls - Brian
I took this point up with the then DETR last February and part of the answer was
"The current legislation authorising the collection of tolls at the Dartford river crossings is forecast to expire in June 2002. The cessation of tolling would be likely to have the effect of significantly increasing demand on the eastern sector of the M25 which would further increase the level of congestion at the crossings and elsewhere and have associated environmental and safety implications.
The Government are therefore minded to continue to charge for the use of the Dartford river crossings when the current legislation expires. Subject to the consent of Parliament we will consult next year on detailed proposals. Revenues from charging would be hypothecated for spending on transport.?

So the reason for contiuing is to discourage traffic, with revenue to be spent on "transport", a definition which is so wide that it may be cycle lanes.

If HJ or Telegraph would like the whole letter I will forward it.
Re: Dartford Crossing Tolls - Andy
'.....hypothecated for spending on transport'. Just about says it all doesn't it? Yet another favourite government phrase which covers a multitude of sins. Bike lanes, bus lanes, road narrowings, new 30 limits..........
Re: Dartford Crossing Tolls - Andrew
You should worry it's £2.40 for a car each way on the Humber Bridge and there is no likelyhood of the construction debt been paid off!

Andrew.
Re: Dartford Crossing Tolls - Ian Cook
Well - if the Severns bridges are anything to go by you'll be paying until Nelson gets his eye back.

These 2 bridges are now privately operated by a French company. I suppose there are rules governing price escalation but £4.40 per day return for what is an essential piece of national motorway infrastructure is taking the wee wee, I'm afraid.

How much is the Dartford crossing, btw?

Ian
Re: Dartford Crossing Tolls - Lee H
Last time I drove over the Severn bridge, a long time ago admittedly, you could get into Wales for free, but had to pay to get out.

Is this still the case?

And on the same subject, did I read of a toll motorway being built near Birmingham? will it relieve the congestion around J8-10 of the M6?
Re: Dartford Crossing Tolls - Dan J
Lee H wrote:

> And on the same subject, did I read of a toll motorway being built near Birmingham? will it relieve the congestion around J8-10 of the M6?

Yes you did and no it will not. It will, however, make vast sums of money initially for the government and subsequently for the private company(ies) who run it. Current projections are in the billions...
Re: Dartford Crossing Tolls - Ian Cook
It's the other way around, Lee - free to get out of Wales.

Ian
Re: Dartford Crossing Tolls - Lee H
Thanks, it is a while since I was last there. I think they were still building the second bridge.

Lee.
Re: Dartford Crossing Tolls - Brian
Does anyone have the address for submissions to the consultation?
Re: Dartford Crossing Tolls - Cockle
Good points, my argument is with the way this is being done, if not secretly then certainly not very publicly either.
I also don't like being told porkies for the third time plus as the Government got most of the crossing built for it I think they have a bit of a cheek.
I don't dispute that the crossing, at a £1 a trip, is a lot cheaper in time and fuel than having to travel via the Blackwall Tunnel. Also a lot cheaper than some other crossings mentioned, probably about the only thing that is in this part of the world!!!
I know of people living in Essex who will always use the northern section of the M25 to get to West London because of the delays caused at the toll-booths not the monetary cost, if they were to use the crossing would this not help spread the load by relieving some of the northern traffic?
Similarly traffic from East London uses the Blackwall Tunnel rather than use the nice shiny, new upgraded A13/Dartford route to get into northern Kent thereby helping to clog up South-east London.
Again traffic travelling north-south uses the western section to avoid the delays.
My argument being that the delays distort the traffic flows.
What are the rates? - ian (cape town)
Here we have some lovely toll roads and tunnels - but the biggest problem is the arbitrary toll.
Bikes and sedans pay the same as fully-laden minibusses (and these guys can really load them!) with a trailer.
A few years ago, after countless protests to the bureaucrats that the system was unfair, motorcyclists rebelled, and went along en masse one bank holiday, armed with R200 notes (the toll is about R10) or bags full of 1c pieces.
Quite a niec bit of peaceful resistance, until plod arrived, and did an on-the-spot roadworthy of all the bikes...
Re: What are the rates? - Brian
I have suggested previously that if tolls were paid in pennies either to the manned kiosks or into the autotolls that would bring the point home to the powers that be.
Pulling two threads into one, tolls/BR meet - Stuart B
Brian wrote:
>
> I have suggested previously that if tolls were paid in
> pennies either to the manned kiosks or into the autotolls
> that would bring the point home to the powers that be.

I think there is some rule or statute which sets quite a low max limit as to how much you can pay in pennies.

Quite like the idea of a mass turnout with everybody submitting a £50 quid note. More potential for causing mayhem.

Now THAT would be an idea for a Backroomers meet, it would involve cars, a drive, a legal protest, possible publicity for HJ if there were enough of us, and potential for a gin afterwards. Possibility for countrywide venues, Dartford, Severn, Humber, Forth, BNRR when its built.
Re: Pulling two threads into one, tolls/BR meet - David W
.......a gin afterwards....

Thought you would turn out posh Stuart.

David
Re: Pulling two threads into one, tolls/BR meet - Stuart B
Posh? me? So my net persona is a bit off then.

Why did I say gin? Don't know really, suppose partial to occasional G&T, but then beers OK, but nearly TT these days.

Maybe gin came from thinking of different venues near home, first thought was beer & skittles in the Clent hills, then the ideal prospect for me came to mind.

A walk across the fields, step onto a gin palace for a little evening cruise down the Severn. Very civilised, not a sweaty bikini nor speed camera in sight. More or less on topic
Re: Pulling two threads into one, tolls/BR meet - Mark (Brazil)
> I think there is some rule or statute which sets quite a low
> max limit as to how much you can pay in pennies.

There is. The description of Legal Tender.

> Quite like the idea of a mass turnout with everybody
> submitting a £50 quid note. More potential for causing mayhem.

Actually, from the same law that wouldn't be Legal Tender, either.

The definition of Legal Tender specifies that *must* be accepted in settlement, not something which *may* be accepted.
So what IS legal tender then? - Stuart B
Mark (Brazil) wrote:
>
> > I think there is some rule or statute which sets quite a low
> > max limit as to how much you can pay in pennies.
>
> There is. The description of Legal Tender.
>
> > Quite like the idea of a mass turnout with everybody
> > submitting a £50 quid note. More potential for causing
> mayhem.
>
> Actually, from the same law that wouldn't be Legal Tender,
> either.
>
> The definition of Legal Tender specifies that *must* be
> accepted in settlement, not something which *may* be accepted.

Who is the *must* implied upon? I can see the argument that it lets say the Revenue off the hook when someone offers to pay their tax in 1p coins.

Because of the max amount rules they do not *have* to accept it, and therefore the person still legally owes the debt.

OK I bow to greater knowledge here, but (there is always a but) I know there are limits for coins, ie the one I CAN remember is that you can't pay a debt of more than £10 in 50p coins.

I also remember that banknotes have *unlimited* legal tender. Thats not my definition BTW, but forget where it came from.

Now what does unlimited mean?

I think its intended to mean that if I agreed a deal with a garage to buy a Ferrari for cash, then I could pay in used fivers if I wanted.
(Memo to self, remember to look in the shed to see if they are still there ;-)

Mark, if I understand you correctly, you are saying the garage could say no we want it in twenties and fifties then that is what I would have to pay them with. Is that really right?

If that IS the case equally do the toll fee notices say in their treatise to make a contract in which they allow you past in payment for a fee that only certain denominations are accepted. I don't know I'm just asking. Next time I go through a toll I'll take note.

If they don't I still think it would be an interesting exercise if enough folks went beyond the point of no return, up to the toll booths, (are they before or after the bridge/tunnel?) and submitted the fee with a big banknote.

So for the first few times they will have the change, but after that what are they going to do? Make you turn round and go the other way?

Not being argumentative here, just interested in the possibilities for legal protests that just might be a bit of a hoot at the same time.

Another thought if its not legal tender one way, what about the change, could we refuse to accept change in denominations WE don't like? Remember when there was a shortage of fivers and you always ended up with a pocket/purse full of coins?

There is a proper definition of legal tender in Halsey's English law or similar, anybody got a copy out there?
Re: So what IS legal tender then? - Mark (Brazil)

> Now what does unlimited mean?
>
> I think its intended to mean that if I agreed a deal with a
> garage to buy a Ferrari for cash, then I could pay in used
> fivers if I wanted.
> (Memo to self, remember to look in the shed to see if they
> are still there ;-)

Absolutely, you can be in fivers to an unlimited amount. However, for it to be legal tender, it must be the *exact* amount. Therefore, if the figure ended in 1.99, for example, and you paid with fivers, you'd either have to give the exact amount, or if you paid over the garage wouldn't have to accept it, but if they did you have no *right* to receive change.

> Mark, if I understand you correctly, you are saying the
> garage could say no we want it in twenties and fifties then
> that is what I would have to pay them with. Is that really
> right?

Not really. Each type of currency has a maximum amount. I can't remember the amounts, and anyway they may have changed, so if you say its 10 quid in 50p then you are probably right.

Notes, are just notes, without differentiation.

The Garage, in this example, has no right to say what you must pay him in, other than the fact that it must be legal tender. Therefore, you can use any combination you like, provided it is under the various maximums for each type, and provided it settles the debt. If you can only pay more, then you have to accept that you have no right to the change - of course, it would be commercial suicide for any enterprise to do this, but that is their right.

> Another thought if its not legal tender one way, what about
> the change, could we refuse to accept change in denominations
> WE don't like? Remember when there was a shortage of fivers
> and you always ended up with a pocket/purse full of coins?

You could, except for the small detail that you have no legal right to receive change, unless it was agreed beforehand.

> There is a proper definition of legal tender in Halsey's
> English law or similar, anybody got a copy out there?

Yes, do you *really* want me to dig it out ?

M.
Re: So what IS legal tender then? - Mark (Brazil)
> > There is a proper definition of legal tender in Halsey's
> > English law or similar, anybody got a copy out there?

By the way, I assume you mean "Halsbury's Laws of England".
Re: So what IS legal tender then? - Mark (Brazil)
By the way II.

Did you know that scottish bank notes are not Legal Tender anywhere, not even in Scotland ?

Bear in mind, Legal Tender means something which cannot be refused in settlement, this doesn't mean that "not Legal Tender" cannot be accepted.
Re: So what IS legal tender then? - Stuart B
Thanks Mark & Brian.

Blowing my own wotsit, Halsey's Halsbury's Schmalsbury's, for a none legal bod working totally from memory I reckon that was close enough for you to know what I was on about.

As for something that cannot be refused being legal tender, that opens up a lot of possibilities there methinks!
Re: So what IS legal tender then? - Jonathan
I remember my economics teacher telling us pretty similar things to Mark, in that you cannot make a payment which is a burden (ie write a cheque on a flag stone, which would be legal, but would be difficult to move and therefore a burden). That is why change should not be paid over a value of £**.

Jonathan
Re: So what IS legal tender then? - Mark (Brazil)
Neither cheques nor credit cards are legal tender.

There is a precedent which differs slightly for government payments. Something along the lines of "normally accepted method" must be accepted. It was related to some govt. office in Scotland refusing to accept scottish notes as they are not legal tender, and the courts slapped him around the ear.

You'd have to be pretty determined, but there might be some scope for movement there.

There was also another about some bridge toll protest in Scotland. Initially they tried to pay in all coins and got the Legal Tender issue; They then changed to paying in the smallest combination of denomination without offending Legal Tender practices - I seem to recall it was still sufficient to disrupt the toll booths.

I can try and scrape the bottom of my brain if anybody really cares ?
Re: So what IS legal tender then? - Mark (Brazil)
> Neither cheques nor credit cards are legal tender.

You know, I should say "weren't". There was a couple of changes recently, one related to the Euro and the other to the standing of E-Payments.

I didn't pay any attention, but that or another recent change may have affected it.

M.
Re: So what IS legal tender then? - Dave
Stuart B wrote:

> If they don't I still think it would be an interesting
> exercise if enough folks went beyond the point of no return,
> up to the toll booths, (are they before or after the
> bridge/tunnel?) and submitted the fee with a big banknote.

I crossed the Severn bridge with no cash in the summer. Bloke took what I had (1.63 IIRC) and waved me on. You can't go back it's a motorway.
Re: So what IS legal tender then? - Brian
I will look up "Legal Tender" in my commercial law textbook when I get home and post the result, unless someone beats me to it.
 

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