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Early Breakfast with Jenni Falconer 4am - 6:30am
A public consultation on big changes to the way we pay to use the Dartford Crossing has started this morning.
Transport officials want to hear what people think about plans for the barriers and toll booths to be removed and for drivers to pay the charge either online, over the phone or in shops instead.
They would have until midnight on the day they have used the crossing to pay the toll. If they pay up the next day 20% would be added to the charge.
After this they would be face a penalty charge of £70, with a reduced rate of £35 if paid within 14 days. If the penalty is not paid within 28 days it would increase to £105.
Free-flow charging is part of a package of planned improvements being carried out by the Government to improve motorists' experiences in using the Dartford Crossing. Discounts will remain in place for drivers who set up an account and pay in advance and for those that qualify for the Local Residents' Discount Scheme.
Roads Minister Stephen Hammond said: "By removing the barriers at the crossing congestion will be reduced and traffic flow will improve for all motorists " but that means the way payment is collected will change.
"We need to make sure we have steps in place to allow enforcement against drivers who do not pay their road user charge. How and what will happen needs to be decided and that is exactly what the Enforcement Regulations consultation will do."
The consultation will open on Monday and close on 28th January 2013 and will be available to view on the Highways Agency website and at Dartford Borough Council's offices from Monday.